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by Jason June ; illustrated by Loren Long

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 2023
ISBN: 978-0-06-303962-9
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

An elephant never forgets—until she does.

Elijah, a young elephant, loves his grandma Eleanor. She makes everything fun, especially crossword puzzles and stories. Grandma remembers everything—faces, fancy words, and more. Elijah enjoys being introduced to everyone as he and Grandma walk around town together. He is always making new friends because of her wonderful memory. Then that all begins to change. For the first time, Eleanor starts to lose words, then stories, and then herself as she becomes lost one day. Elijah is worried until he comes up with an idea to keep his grandma from wandering. He posts memory pictures all over the neighborhood so that Grandma can always find her way. June’s portrayal of Eleanor and Elijah gently and fondly reveals the passage of time until Eleanor’s death and the inevitable “goodbye.” The sadness of Eleanor’s Alzheimer’s is secondary to the thoughtful interactions that sustain a grieving community. This day-to-day celebration of a loving relationship brings both characters vividly to life. Long’s tender gouache-and–colored pencil illustrations carry the story without ever becoming overly sentimental. The expressive features are endearing. From Elijah shyly peeking out from behind a newspaper to Grandma’s heart-rending puzzled reactions, the images evoke honest emotions. An author’s note briefly explains Alzheimer’s and its effects on families and friends. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A tender tribute to the heart.

(artist’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)