Year of publication: 2023
Illustrations: Carlota Tellez
Well, they will not have given us the Ministry of Culture, not even a measly Undersecretary of State for bloggers, influencers and organic intellectuals, but here we continue with our vocation of public service. On this occasion, helping long-suffering fathers and mothers choose Christmas gifts for little readers (and, why not?, for them too).
Because although When my grandfather didn’t set foot on the Moon It is, obviously, a book intended for children, it can also be a short and tender read for an adult audience who surely identifies with the story of little Adrián. And if not, raise your hand if he (or that one, let’s not mess it up) who did not see how his childhood or adolescence ended the moment one of his grandparents died. In my case, of course, that’s how it was.
Therefore, we could talk about a children’s initiation story. No, the purists should not hold their hands against me for including a children’s book of barely twenty pages in the same category as the sacrosanct ones. The catcher in the rye o The magic mountain. These narrate the transition from childhood to adult life and that is what, broadly speaking, it portrays. When my grandfather didn’t set foot on the Moon.
The main virtues of the text, in addition to its timeless and universal character, are that it exudes tenderness without falling into silliness and that it treats the child reader as if they were a “normal person.” The latter is something that seems really complicated to me in children’s literature, finding that appropriate tone, and I think it is something that the author achieves by not confusing innocence with “idiocy.” It may seem simple, but I think it is not.
Special mention for the illustrations by Carlota Téllez that accompany (or should I say merge with?) the text. These are situated halfway between the evocative, the (at times) dreamlike and the grotesque and sometimes display a deliberate ugliness that is sure to be most attractive to the little ones.