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PreS-Gr.3. Written from a child's viewpoint, these two picture books tell the story of a beloved grandfather with Alzheimer's disease. In Faraway Grandpa, set nearly a century ago, Kathleen visits her Grandpa Danny every summer, and they have uproarious fun together. He loves shenanigans, he teases her, and together they bellow out his song from Ireland, "Danny Boy." But one year, he forgets that she's coming, and eventually he comes to live with her family. He hides in her closets and does other silly things. He makes trouble with the neighbors, and he even forgets her name. But he remembers things from long ago, and always, he and Kathleen share the melancholy song. The old-fashioned setting distances the story, but it also shows that the illness is not new. In Rand's warm, pencil-and-watercolor paintings and Karim's short, unrhymed lines the quiet scenarios of hurt and humiliation and heartfelt love tell the truth.
In contrast, Shriver's characters are absolutely perfect, and her scenarios are pure bliss. Gushy words and misty pastel illustrations depict family members across three generations as unfailingly kind, strong, and understanding. Young Kate is "curious, sensitive, and wise beyond her age," and Grandpa had an "absolutely happy" life. Yet how supportive is this scenario when a child trying to cope with a beloved, ailing grandparent feels (and sees family members feeling) irritation, anger, and guilt? There will be many requests for this; it has been widely promoted and endorsed by Nancy Reagan. But the purposive story isn't what works; it's the information woven into the fiction. The clear facts about the disease, what to expect (Will Mom get it? Will Kate?), and how to cope are supported by an excellent list of resources and organizations to contact. Hazel Rochman
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What's Happening to GrandpaThe book is an excellent tool to explain to a child what is happening to a Grandparent who has any form of dementia.
Ms. Shriver has succeeded in putting all the sensitive feelings and thoughts that naturally occur when a loved ones develops Alzheimer's.
Good attempt to explain to kids why grandparents seem to be out of it, especially those with dementia. A good idea, glad she did it.Published 1 month ago by Faye Girsh
Great for the grandchildren who are (rightly) confused by grandparent's strange behaviors. Well written with much insight. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Crafty Granny
What's Happening to GrandpaThe book is an excellent tool to explain to a child what is happening to a Grandparent who has any form of dementia. Read morePublished on March 23, 2012 by MARY REVELS
Kate loves her grandparents. Most kids do. She doesn't look at them as being old. Kate and her grandmother have tea parties together. They also play chinese checkers and croquet. Read morePublished on February 28, 2012 by Kristi Bernard
I wanted some sort of book or story that would help my two grandsons understand why "granpa" was so angry sometimes. Read morePublished on August 7, 2011 by Sylvia M. Connolly
Good price. Book great in assisting children understand & makes it easier to talk about a difficult change of life.Published on February 13, 2011 by Bill G. Levins
This book is vintage Kennedy-Shriver. It explains Alzheimers to children. Even better it acknowledges that the child's hurt and sadness are natural and legitimate feelings. Read morePublished on September 3, 2009 by S. M. Owens