by Maurice Pommier
This beautifully illustrated children's book tells the story of an unbroken line of craftsmen from a French family, and traces the history of their lives and their work through their tools and the stories of them being handed from one worker to the other - against the backdrop of colonization, the gold rush, World War I and the time when Dragomir the dragon wreaked havoc in the Black Forest.
The tale is told through the eyes of Sylvain, the youngest of the woodworkers in the family, as he spends his vacation in the shop of his grandfather, whom he calls Pépère. Sylvain wants to learn all about the hand tools in Pépère's shop and the elves who hide amongst the shavings, benches and tool chests there.
As each tool's story is told, Sylvain learns a little more about his family and its connection to woodworkers all over the world, and this eventually leads to him being haunted by a sad family secret that is told to him by the woodshop's elves (in a dream).
"Grandpa's Workshop" is a magnificent tale filled with hundreds of beautiful illustrations that you and your children will find intoxicating. It is a story that is untouched by the modern tendency to sugar coat stories for our children, and it is a little bit scary in parts - there is a vicious dragon, a tragic jobsite accident, a war and even a family murder.
In the end, of course, "Grandpa's Workshop" is a tale that will fascinate and perhaps spark something in the reader - perhaps a love for wood, the mysteries of the forest or even working with one's hands. It is the perfect gift for a child who might just have woodworking in his or her blood.
Hardcover, Printed in the USA.
Publisher: Lost Art Press