Bringing Back Grandpa by Madhuri Kamat, a sequel to Flying with Grandpa is a realistic portrayal of the life of a single child in an urban, middle class Indian family of today. The child’s character is coloured with loneliness and control. This review begins with a brief summary of the story, which is followed by some observational comments. Finally, the reviewer poses a few questions on the current state of childhood in India and what role children’s literature can play to address children’s needs.
The story appears as a page from the life of a single, privileged male child, Xerxes. He is quite close to his grandpa, who is his only friend and also his saviour. All of a sudden his grandpa falls ill. Before Xerxes could make sense of the situation at home, he finds himself being bullied by his classmates. Adding to his isolation is the concealment of his grandpa’s illness by his parents. With no one to reach out for support, friendless Xerxes is all alone in a difficult situation.