In this import from Germany, a 9-year-old boy named Max sneaks his grandfather, who has dementia—the Great Forgetting—and another older woman, Miss Schneider, out of their nursing home.
Gently, he leads them to a country meadow where his grandfather once proposed to his grandmother. He’s fully aware that they’ll be caught but determined that his grandfather should experience the peaceful green country setting anyway. His mission is successful. His grandfather slips into brief lucidity and offers Max gentle reassurance of his continued love. Exuberant Miss Schneider, rail thin and very cheery, dances! Frequent illustrations that look to be done in colored pencil are rendered in an unusual palette of just four or five vivid colors that effectively capture the child’s determined yet spontaneous nature. All characters are depicted as white. A CD accompanies this volume; a clear-voiced male reader pauses to give readers time to appreciate the occasional wordless double-page spread. An interlude of classical music follows. The music is very pleasant, but there is little in it that evokes the scene it accompanies. About half the interludes are from “A Summer Day” by Sergei Prokofiev and the rest from “Petit Suite” by Georges Bizet. An interview follows the narrative, with author and illustrator offering insight into their thoughts as they crafted this unusual work.
A quiet story and pleasant music combine for a calming, peaceful, and even uplifting performance. (Fiction. 8-12)