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The Staircase on Pine Street Paperback – July 20, 2014
About the Author
Mariana Llanos writes poems and children's stories. She's also an art and music teacher at a preschool. Mariana is mother to three kids who keep her inspired to write more stories. Her first book, Tristan Wolf, was a finalist of the 2013 Reader's Favorite Awards. This year (2014) Mariana has released three children's books (A Planet for Tristan Wolf, The Wanting Monster and its Spanish version, El Monstruo Quierelotodo), and she plans to publish even more stories. Mariana loves writing and creating art, sharing her stories with children, the taste of dark chocolate with almonds, the feeling of the ocean waves on her feet, and the sweet hugs of her loved ones.
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Top customer reviews
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Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be scary for young children, but Mariana Llanos has woven a beautiful story that explains the disease in a way that young children can understand. I recommend parents read the forward before reading the book to their children. In this short piece about Alzheimer’s disease, the author describes what Alzheimer’s is, tells how to get more information, and makes suggestions to help families to create awareness of this devastating disease.
I recommend this upper elementary school age child, whether or not they have a family member who has Alzheimer’s disease.
Title: The Staircase on Pine Street
Author: Mariana Llanos
Star Rating: 5 Stars
Number of Readers: 17
Of the 17 readers:
17 would read another book by this author.
17 thought the cover was good or excellent.
6 thought the style of writing was the best part.
2 felt it was a bit slow at the start.
17 felt the author dealt well with Alzheimer’s Disease.
‘I thought this was a brilliant story. I liked how the girl, Lilly, wants so much to be close to her grandad. It’s sad in parts but the adventure part was really good.’ Girl, aged 12
‘The children in my class loved this book. It was a very clever way of showing to children what Alzheimer’s Disease is and how it can affect the sufferer and his or her family. We used the book as a springboard to discuss this disease and others. Cool cover too.’ Primary Teacher, aged 32
‘It was the relationship between the girl and her grandad that made this book great. It reminded me of Danny the Champion of the World.’ Girl, aged 13
‘Good book. I liked the ending best. The girl was very brave I thought. I never knew my grandad but if I had I would have liked to had a good relationship like the girl in this book.’ Boy, aged 12
‘This cover was the best in the awards.’ Girl, aged 10
‘A wonderful book in every way. Comparisons to Danny the Champion of the World are, for once, justified. A FINALIST and highly recommended.’ The Wishing Shelf Book Awards
I would wager that working with children as a profession has given Mariana a knack for writing in such a way that both attracts and influences younger minds.
And on to the review!
Young Lily and Grandpa, the two protagonists in the story, share a bond that reminds us all that loves knows no number. Lily is only ten years old, and her grandpa, 73, but the two seemed inseparable. I immediately felt their relationship from the opening pages!
The book is beautifully illustrated by Kate Gattey, providing a visual representation of the characters’ interactions without distracting from the story. Well done.
The Staircase has an abstract antagonist: Alzheimer’s disease. Although Grandpa does all he can to remember his loved ones, the disease slowly takes his memories. He is resilient, however, telling Lily that, although the disease is taking his mind, it cannot take his heart.
The writing is perfectly structured for children, with simple sentences and words. I’ve read children’s books that read like they were better suited for a more mature audience. Mariana got it right!
The MacGuffin is a plot device (name by Hitchcock) that motivates the character to take action. In The Staircase, the MacGuffin is a treasure box that she found with the help of her friend, Mei Ling. This forms the bulk of Lily’s adventure.
The author left an open ending to this story that I appreciated. Instead of telling exactly what happened, Mariana implied it, making for a powerful conclusion.
THE STAIRCASE ON PINE STREET: WRAP-UP
This is, in my opinion, a perfect short story. The author was able to develop her characters in just a few pages. The beautiful illustrations and perfect dialogue and prose make this one story you won’t regret giving to a child, or for that matter, reading for yourself. Well done, Mariana!