Once Upon a Bookshelf – Charlie and the Grandmothers

Charlie and the GrandmothersCharlie and the Grandmothers by Katy Towell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Charlie is afraid of everything. “He worried about flooding on a cloudless day. He worried about wildfires when the rain wouldn’t stop. He worried about things that went bump in the night and worried equally about things that didn’t.” He hadn’t slept in the 6 years that his dad died, worried something bad would happen to more people he loved. His sister, Georgie, on the other hand is quite the adventurer. After children from their town start disappearing after they go on trips to visit their grandmothers, Charlie get suspicious. Where are they all going? He doesn’t have anything to worry about though because he no longer has grandmothers. Or does he?

After a sickness grips his mother, Georgie and Charlie are sent away to visit with Grandmother Pearl and Grandmother Opal, neither of which they knew existed. Charlie’s fear is strong and that’s what ultimately keeps him safe. Georgie forgets about life before arriving at the farm which gets her into trouble.


It turns out that the grandmothers are not who they seem. They are actually henchmen for the wicked Queen of Fear. All seems lost until Charlie realizes that his fear has been preparing him for this for the past 6 years. In order to defeat the Queen, he has to face his biggest fear – remembering the good times with his father. After realizing that he needs to focus on what he has and not take it for granted, Charlie, Georgie, and all of the kids that had been captured before them are returned to their homes.

I had high hopes for this book but I had such a hard time getting into it. I really like the premise because it reminds me a lot of a book that I’ve been writing for… 9 years. Sometimes it seemed like important moments were just glossed over and other times I got wicked bored but kept trudging through.

The illustrations are fantastic though. The author is also the illustrator, and she does a great job. Her design style for the book is eerie and creepy and I love it.

Overall, I liked this book although based on what my kids at school have said, it’s hit or miss with the younger crowd too.

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