A fragmentary conversation between Emily and Great-Uncle Alfred, who is increasingly forgetful; his questions and statements are sometimes funny, sometimes lyrical, sometimes philosophical, and sometimes saggy--the dialogue is a little too realistic in its stops and starts. A gentle little girl, Emily helps Great-Uncle Alfred find and put on his shoes, and they go out for a walk; he thinks it's Christmas, but it's really summer, and so on. Shecter (Sparrow Song, 1981, etc.) illustrates his text with a sequence of luminous paintings; everything in these pictures is heavy, rigidly immobile, encrusted in brilliant colors--and touchingly expressive. They fairly radiate with the affection between these two characters as they struggle to communicate.