Dazzling with a cover of almost neon orange, this book is sure to stand out on a bookshelf, pretty much like Grandma Z when she bounds into Albert’s world. Albert is only used to the ordinary, a place where his parents keep everything in Albert’s world just so. Even on his birthday, Albert struggles to make his party celebrations interesting as his parents dislike noise and mess, so it’s just Albert and his birthday socks.
But a knock on the door reveals the colossal personality that is a beaming Grandma Z. His parents try to keep Albert cocooned in their safe world, but thankfully for Albert, Grandma Z whisks him away on her motorbike for adventures in mountains and enchanted forests, to curiosity shops with magical things inside.
This début is a whirlwind of dynamic illustrations in orange and blue, where Gray-Barnett tells the story of how a boy and his grandmother can see the world as a realm of endless possibilities by using their imaginations. Grandma Z gives Albert the ultimate unordinary birthday party, much to the shock of his parents.
Although it seems that it is Grandma Z is who has made the unusual events of the day happen, she says that if ever she feels ordinary that it’s Albert that she’ll look for. And so this is the message of the book, that the extraordinary lies within us all, and can be accessed at any time.