What's Happening to Grandpa?
What’s Happening to Grandpa?
Written by: Maria Shriver
Illustrated by: Sandra Speidel
Little Brown & Company $22.95
Recommended for ages: 5-9
What happens when your Grandpa starts to repeat things and more often than usual he forgets things you just told him? Kate is a young girl faced with this dilemma. Her grandparents hold a very special place in her heart. She visits them every Sunday with her parents and younger brothers and sister and has always been taught that family is the most important thing in life.
One Sunday Kate hears her Grandpa slamming doors and complaining that he can’t find his keys. Her Grandma has to remind him that he is no longer allowed to drive his car. His response is very typical but unlike anything Kate has ever seen. When one morning he forgets Kate’s name, she broaches the topic with her Mom and learns that her Grandpa has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
After listening to an appropriate explanation, Kate realizes that this is something that they will all have to live with and sets about to think of a way to help Grandpa cope. Kate decides to make a scrapbook with her Grandpa to help him keep his memories alive. She asks him to explain who is in each of the old photos and what he remembers about them. This really keeps his spirits up. As he relives many old moments, Kate sees his happiness and feels a real sense of love for him. She understands how lucky she is to have a grandpa, even if his memory is fading.
This is Maria Shriver’s third children’s book. As with the other two books, she again tackles an important issue head on. Many people will find comfort in this gentle book about the debilitating disease that is all too common in our world. Speidel’s watercolours compliment the story beautifully.