It has taken some time since I first became aware of this book (through updates during it’s production given by Chris Schwarz on the Lost Art Press blog) for me to finally get around to purchasing a copy. At last weekend’s Hand Tool event, I asked at the Henry Eckert stand if they had bought “Grandpa’s Workshop” along with the other Lost Art Press books and DVDs they had (and stock). Unfortunately they hadn’t, but as soon as they got back after the event, it was on its way and sitting at my front door yesterday.
It is a children’s story, but real-life experiences of the author is apparent in the text as well, the sights, sounds and emotions of being in and around the workshop of a grandfather or similar figure.
Some of the stories told by the Grandfather are pure fantasy, others very much about the stories the tools would tell of their own history, and stories of the history of the boy’s family and ancestors. As I read the book to my daughter, I hold a hope that one day she will find herself brushing sawdust from her clothes, and remember her father, and grandfather did the same and to continue to pass on a love to being able to physically create through wielding simple tools and working with natural materials.
The illustrations create a very rich experience, obviously meaning a lot more to me than my young charge, but even so, being able to show that I too have tools very similar in shape and function to those depicted in the stories must add a dimension to the stories. My tools may not have the same history as Pepere’s, but hopefully they will be passed down through the ages so that one day, they too will have many stories to tell.
It doesn’t matter when the story was originally written, the language originally used, the country it was set in – the workshop Pepere occupies is as familiar as the one so many of us also occupy, complete with corners of tools no longer required, in a cobweb and dust shroud, and the “couldcomeinhandys”
This may be a children’s story, but it is very much one that so many of us can intimately relate to, and if you are fortunate to have children or grandchildren that you can share this story with, your experience of the book would be so much richer. But even if not, this children’s story is one we can all read, appreciate and enjoy.