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Parents' Guide to

The War With Grandpa

By Joly Herman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

War of wills tests a family in this funny classic.

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What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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Written in the quirky voice of a spunky kid, this story pushes boundaries of respect between generations. The War with Grandpa has tender moments of bonding, such as when Pete's grandpa takes him flounder fishing on a boat on the Long Island Sound. But it also has peaks of confrontation, like when Pete's grandpa slaps 10-year-old Pete across the face for being stubborn. That slap comes as a shock to Pete, and it shifts the tone in the book to one where a kid might get hurt if he talks back to adults. There's also talk about "psychological warfare," whereby Grandpa makes Pete extremely nervous because Pete doesn't know what to expect Grandpa to do.

Pete's sense of loyalty to his room is a great plot device that kids will relate to. As he says, "This room is MINE. Nobody else in my family ever lived in it." He knows the sounds, the shadows at night, and he knows it's his. When Grandpa intrudes, it feels like a personal insult. Kids will also like the real quality of Pete's voice (he and his friends used made up words like "furzy" instead of cussing), and they will enjoy the fact that the book is written by Pete for an English class. It's a fun read, but there are missed opportunities for richer subplot and more fleshed-out characters.

Book Details

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