The Gritterman, both written and illustrated by Orlando Weeks, is a picture book quite unlike any other.
The central hero of the book, is none other than the gritterman himself. A man who has dedicated his life to a job his does with pride, so much pride. But. Tonight is his last night – as declared by a emotionless, official letter from the council.
This tender story takes us through his last night. Peppered with backstory the reader gets a real feel for this character. The gritterman is an everyday hero who selflessly helps others.
You’ll be drawn into Weeks’s lyrical, soft prose. Full of emotion and atmosphere the gritterman is alone since the death of his wife. He uses his van to sell ice-cream during the summer months, but this is not where his passion lies… he waits for the winter. He waits for his chance to grit the roads during the middle of the nights.
‘In these blue-black hours, time disappears. It slips away completely or freezes in the headlights.’
Week’s delicate illustrations increase the tender atmosphere – he captures the beauty of a snowy, British winter so delicately. Evocative blue hues dominate many of the spreads – sometimes double pages, sometimes a wonderful collection of vignettes.
Every now and then a picture book comes along which stops me in my tracks ,The Gritterman from Orlando Weeks did exactly that. Original, thoughtful and beautifully told.