An accessible, kindhearted explanation of Alzheimer’s disease.

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In this illustrated children’s book, a girl learns how to help her grandmother who’s been diagnosed with dementia.

Bright-eyed Annie loves spending time with her grandparents, as does her brother, Andy. The kids enjoy helping Grandma, especially with baking and gardening. In the kitchen, Annie likes looking through Grandma’s memory box of special recipes, and in the garden, she appreciates the fragrance of her grandparents’ roses; for the elderly woman, they’re a reminder of the single rose that Grandpa gave her in high school, when they fell in love. However, she starts becoming forgetful and confused during the kids’ visits, and the doctor says she has Alzheimer’s disease, which the siblings’ mother explains is “loss of memory, thinking, or reasoning.” Medicine helps Grandma sleep better, and a “Senior’s Memory Club” day program allows her to be with people her age and staff to look after her, so that Grandpa can get a break from caretaking. Still, Grandma has times when she’s sad, withdrawn, or upset. Annie has the good idea to make a memory scrapbook called “A Rose for Grandma!”; now, her grandma “can always have something beautiful to look at, even on her not-so-good days.” In her debut book, Canadian author Egi clearly explains the complicated subject of dementia for young readers, as with an example of Grandma putting her eyeglasses in the microwave by mistake. She also sympathizes with children’s feelings of loss and acknowledges that Alzheimer’s can be tough on caregivers. The memory scrapbook is a practical and compassionate idea for kids to try; another helpful aspect of the book is its included list of resources (mostly Canada-specific). Debut illustrator Kaur supplies somewhat crudely drawn full-color images, but they still capture the warmth of Annie’s family.

An accessible, kindhearted explanation of Alzheimer’s disease.

Pub Date: April 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73684-108-2

Page Count: 62

Publisher: Mindstir Media

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021


Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022


From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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