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What's Happening to Grandpa? Hardcover – April 28, 2004


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What's Happening to Grandpa? + Still My Grandma + Striped Shirts and Flowered Pants: A Story about Alzheimer's Disease for Young Children
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 6 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 1
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (April 28, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316001015
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316001014
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 7.8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 4–Shriver walks a girl through acceptance and a beginning understanding of her Grandpa's condition. Kate questions not just what can be done to address the changes Alzheimer's will bring within her own family but she also tries to place her concern in the larger context of growing old. She decides how to help her grandfather as he goes through this difficult time. Together they sit down with a box of photographs and his still-intact memories and create a scrapbook. This well-meaning book is clearly and lovingly written. Kate is admittedly "wise beyond her age," which serves the author well as the child becomes the voice of reason. Grandpa is known to talk to God and is grateful for having been granted a good life despite his current adversity. The book is squat and square, helping to establish intimacy. There is a soft focus to the pastel art that matches the tone of the story. The application of color is lively, scratchy yet self-contained, giving a sense of controlled movement. The art is especially effective at giving Grandpa energy and verve. Certain phrases are printed in a larger type on each page, giving multiple entries into the book's key concepts simply by reading these emphasized statements. As Grandpa says, "the important memories of my life will forever be in my heart." It's a warm and touching thought.–Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Reviewed with Roberta Karim's Faraway Grandpa.

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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


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The Knowledge we as Authors share, produces a well informed future generation.
Allen Silverstein
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.
MARY REVELS
Even better it acknowledges that the child's hurt and sadness are natural and legitimate feelings.
S. M. Owens

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It is good to have a book to read to children that will help them cope with a grandparent with Altzheimer's! I especially liked the expression of the many feelings that the book characters had. It made talking about feelings that we have easier. I think we will be reading this from time to time to keep in touch with each other through the process of this disease and how it relates to our family. Thank you for carrying it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By frisky2000 VINE VOICE on August 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Families can struggle with teaching children about aging and illness, especially when it hits so close to home with grandparents. Ms. Shriver has succeeded in putting all the sensitive feelings and thoughts that naturally occur when a loved ones develops Alzheimer's.

Soft watercolor pictures accompany meaningful text to describe families from all backgrounds as they begin the long and sometimes painful journey with seniors as their memories fade, they repeat themselves, can't remember things, and ask the same questions over and over.

Meant for older children, this book is a wonderful starting point to begin discussions of this topic with classes and/or your children at home.

So thorough is the coverage in this book that it even includes a wealth of additional resources in the back pages with websites and 800 #'s for further information on Alzheimer's education and aging.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on March 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a very sensitive book addressing the horrible problems when a loved one is diagnoses with Alzheimer's Disease. The book is seen through the eyes of a child, a questioning child and the answers provided are quite good. This is a well done work and covers issues which, at times, can be diffiult to address with the young child. I not that this paricular work is probably being down graded somewhat due to the fact that the author is a celebrity, of sorts. I will be the first to state that many of the "celebrity written books" are indeed pure garbage and that just because they look good in front of a camera, does not make them an expert on just about any thing. (Actually, generally speaking, as a group, they are just about the most clueless folks we have in our society). In this case though, Shriver has indeed done her research and does indeed pull it off and the work shoud not be judged on just what the author does for a living. All in all, recommend this one highly.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jacqueline Marcell on May 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It is hard enough for an adult to understand what it all means when a loved one is stricken with Alzheimer's, let alone a child. Maria has done a marvelous job of explaining it in terms that will help your children as well as yourself, understand, accept and cope with one of the hardest times any family can face.

-Jacqueline Marcell, Author 'Elder Rage, or Take My Father... Please! How to Survive Caring for Aging Parents', International Speaker on Eldercare & Alzheimer's
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anneliese on September 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is helpful to explain small children what is happening to a Alzheimers patient in the family. I liked the clever font setting of the story, key words are printed in bold and larger letters,which allows a child to scan and review the book without reading the whole text, but still grasp the content easily.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Allen Silverstein on May 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Well written with warmth, Maria Shriver does an excellent job of helping grandchildren understand-what even some adults may not fully know- about the battlefield of the aged minds.
The Knowledge we as Authors share, produces a well informed future generation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A positive approach to living with loved ones who are diagnosed with dementia. A helpful way to introduce younger family members.
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By J Joy on November 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book tells such a heart-warming story that can help children better understand why a person the love is different.
The story is told with much love and feeling.
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