The gift boat ISBN: 9781405035163
Published by Macmillan, 2004
Gavin and his grandad are very close. They fish together in their village of Stonehaven in Scotland, and grandad has made Gavin a beautiful model boat for his 11th birthday. When grandad is hit by a massive stroke, Gavin feels responsible for getting him better. His decision to name the boat 'Selkie' because of his grandad's stories about selkies, seems to have some connection with the stroke, and after a month when grandad shows little improvement, Gavin gives his most precious thing, his boat, to the selkies, sailing it out to sea. Soon after, in the hospital with his grandad, he experiences a time when he becomes part of his grandfather, is able to understand what is going on inside his damaged brain, and is able to explain to him what is happening. This has the result of helping grandad physically, and while Gavin puts this almost miraculous happening down to the selkies, he knows too that it may have been a coincidence. The style of writing, characterisation and relationships are superb, and we get a lot of detail about strokes and their effects. This is a story full of truth, whether one believes the magical aspects or not. The real strength is in the relationship between Gavin and his grandad. Small pencil drawings at the beginning of each chapter are gentle and appropriate.