Charlie’s close relationship with his grandfather is changed because of dementia.
Charlie’s grandfather told amazing stories when Charlie was a little boy. Whether it was a tale of pirates in the attic or a backyard witch or the gnome who lived in the basement, Grandpa had a fantastic explanation for everything. But now that Charlie is older and Grandpa has a disease that has “eaten up his memory and his words,” Charlie and his parents are heartbroken. Charlie’s grandfather prefers watching cars to conversing with the family, but Charlie pulls out one of his grandfather’s old stories, which causes Grandpa to turn toward the family. He uses the same tactic, with success, when Grandpa refuses to eat or to smile. He even has a trick when Grandpa no longer recognizes his family. Rich colors and humorous details elevate the illustrations in this well-meaning, but overly optimistic volume for the youngest reader. The fantastic is shown in black ink, with the witch, gnome and pirate mischievously cavorting, while Charlie and his grandfather’s moods are reflected in the background colors. While this might be comforting to children whose older relatives are in the early stages of dementia, it’s hard to see how any of Charlie’s strategies would work when the disease progresses.
Valuable enough, but limited. (Picture book. 4-8)