This is a touching, funny look into a boy's close relationship with his grandfather, "Gramps", a man who took the place of a father for his grandson.
When Gramps is sent to live in a nursing home, grandson Marty is sick at heart. But when his teacher tells the class to write a letter to a famous person, Marty decides to write to Napoleon who, of course, cannot answer. But on a visit to the nursing home, Gramps tells Marty of a secret mail room to travel through time! Is this another one of Gramps tall tales, or is this mail room really real?
I would definitely recommend this book. 9+ for reading level, but appropriate for any age.
Faced with a school assignment to write a letter to a famous person, Marty chooses to write to Napoleon Bonaparte. He has heard all about him from his grandfather, a lovable old coot. When the elderly man is forced into a nursing home, he tells Marty that one of the other residents can actually deliver the letter to Napoleon. Several weeks later, Marty astounds his classmates and teacher by receiving a letter, postmarked Paris, from the Emperor himself. The boy goes on to receive other missives from, for example, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Edison, and eventually comes to believe that his grandfather has pulled off an elaborate hoax. However, following the old man's death, a last letter arrives from Vincent Van Gogh, adding a bit ambiguity to the story. This unresolved element does not detract from the mystery, since most readers would be disappointed if the letters were the mere product of playful scheming. Throughout, a nice balance is maintained between the story's serious elements and the humorous, fantastic parts. The affectionate relationship between Marty and his grandfather is particularly well rendered.
Main character is 4th grader in New Hampshire. Not much about Napoleon, a lot about a relationship with a dying grandfather.