When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox

Written By: Jamie L.B. Deenihan

Illustrated by: Lorraine Rocha

For Ages: 4-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Intergenerational Stories, BIPOC Protagonists, STEM, Etiquette, Social-Emotional Learning.


I’m so excited that this book came out! I love the way that the narrator humorously includes etiquette, practical skills, and the subversion of gender norms. Our main character is a young boy who wants a dollhouse, but receives a toolbox instead. Disappointed but willing to complete a project, a grandfather and grandson spend some time together.

I really like how this (and the previous) story always integrate helping out the community on the main character’s journey to fulfillment with the unwanted gift from family. The main character has to overcome initial urges to feed the toolbox to a dinosaur or launch it into space, and realizes that connection with a family member over a hobby can be a really wonderful way to spend time. It’s difficult for me not to spoil the ending, but I appreciate how the story teaches a handful of general life skills that are helpful. Social-emotional growth, kindness, helpfulness, and being able to fix and build basic items. I also love the quiet subversion of the old adage that boys “shouldn’t” play with dolls, and on nearly every page is a superhero doll with curly hair that the main character loves dearly. Overall, this is an incredibly adorable book that if you haven’t had a chance to check it out!

This book was kindly sent by Sterling Kids, but all opinions are my own.

Jamie L.B. Deenihan

Jamie was a first grade teacher and certified reading specialist in Western Massachusetts for ten years. After her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2015, she took time away from her classroom to be home with her family, teach part-time, and pursue a writing career.

Her debut picture book, WHEN GRANDMA GIVES YOU A LEMON TREE, illustrated by Lorraine Rocha, was released on March 5, 2019.  To learn about Jamie’s other upcoming picture books, please visit the “Books” page of this website.

Jamie lives in Connecticut, near the family farm she grew up on. She’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and Julie Hedlund’s 12X12 Picture Book Challenge.

Lorraine Rocha

Lorraine Rocha started out studying architecture but quickly realized she wanted to draw more than just floor plans and returned to school to study illustration and animation at San Jose State University. After graduation, she worked at Industrial Light + Magic in the art department, contributing to such films as National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Miracle at St. Anna, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Ironman.

​Following her time at ILM, Lorraine worked as a concept artist on the game Bioshock 2 and taught classes at The Art Institute of Las Vegas.

​Upon her return to the San Francisco bay area, Lorraine focused on picture book illustration, and creating funny, whimsical images. Lorraine’s debut picture book, Zebra On The Go, will be published in 2017.

​Lorraine lives with her two favorite people, her husband and daughter. All three enjoy singing and dancing, and Lorraine’s cooking.

Leave a Reply