In my search for stories about selkies, the seals who can take off their seal skins and become human for a time, I came across several young adult titles, including Peter Dickinson’s Inside Grandad, written at a time when Dickinson was surely of an age to be a grandad himself In this lovely book, Scottish 10yearold Gavin learns about selkies when he and his grandad spot a seal in the harbor Gavin spends afterschool time in Grandad’s shop, helping to build a wonderfully detailed model trawler, destined for Gavin’s eleventh birthday Gavin asks if he can name it Selkie Grandad cautions that the boy should ask the selkies for permission They can help you in trouble, but they’re finicky, Grandad says — and then collapses with a stroke The story builds on Gavin’s need to contact and heal his now comatose grandfather in hospital and his guilt: He wonders, Did the selkies, angry because Gavin wanted to name his model boat “Selkie,” cause Grandad’s stroke? So begins a tale of largely oneway interaction with the mythical creatures Targeted at young teens — although Gavin himself is only ten, going on 11 — I found itattuned to older adults with its gabby grandmother, its smart and understanding mother, and its stroke/hospital centered plot There isn't a grandparent alive whose heart wouldn't melt at Gavin’s devotion to his grandad So, maybe not really a YA at all Still, I loved it A quiet, touching read, with Dickinson’s usual care with characterization and a plot that builds and builds until Gavin gets it — and things turn I found particularly powerful the characterization of what it feels like to be in a mind and body poststroke Falling into the dream of this story is only a stretch if you’re unwilling to concede the existence of mythological beings, i.e., selkies, but hey, it’s fiction, and the selkie part is sufficiently well built that's easy to believe So how is it a young adult read? I've always been told that kids read “up” — that is, they and the publishers want the characters to be a couple of years older than the targeted reader Gavin is 10 to 11, and few eightyearolds would light up to this book But grandparents of tenyearolds? Oh, yes. The target audience for this book is young teen readers It is a touching story of the bond between a boy and his grandfather I am not sure that today's teens would find it an engaging book but nevertheless it is a moving story about faith and belief. About a boy who witnesses his grandfather's stroke, then tries to communicate with his comatose body in the hospital Not particularly gripping and the selkie inclusion feltcontrived than real Still, the description of a stroke and recovery for both the patient and his family was quite detailed I'd recommend this to any child/young adult between 10 16 with a loved one in the hospital for longterm care. I picked this up and didn't put it down until I finished it I loved Gavin, who is the main character, and found it touching the way he did everything he could think of to reconnect with his grandfather after his stroke Add a little bit of magic, and this became the perfect cold and rainy spring day read. bad book and boring Odd story of a boy trying to communicate with his grandfather, who has had a stroke, with the help of the selkies. 10yearold boy is with grandfather when he has stroke Helps with physio in hospital Grandfather in coma Selkie boat and seals make boy think he connects with grandfather. An unusual and moving story about the magical bond between a boy and his grandfatherDoes it just happen that Gavin and Grandad see the seal while they are fishing in the harbor? Just happen that Grandad talks about the selkies, the seal people who can leave the water and take human form? Just happen that Grandad is finishing the beautiful miniature boat he’s making for Gavin’s tenth birthday, and Gavin decides to call her Selkie? And at that moment, Grandad has his stroke Could the selkies have something to do with all this?Day after day at the hospital, Gavin tries to get through to helpless and speechless Grandad, trying to reach him, explain what’s happened to him Everyone else has given up But Gavin will try anything Even asking the selkies to help To do that, he must give them something to show them how much it matters What is the dearest thing he owns?From the Hardcover edition