In this picture book, a little girl learns how music helps her grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s disease.
Gabrielle, a young Caucasian girl, notices that her beloved grandmother seems dazed; the older woman also tries to get into the wrong car after they attend a ballet together. Later, Gabrielle’s mother explains that “Grandma has been having difficulty remembering recent events and is becoming confused” due to Alzheimer’s disease. Gabrielle wants to help her, and the next morning, she and her mom bring Grandma’s old record player down from the attic. Hearing her favorite songs, Grandma is smiling and happy, as she was during the ballet. Gabrielle learns that music helps Grandma connect with her memories and can also calm her. An author’s note explains more about Alzheimer’s disease and how music can help sufferers “retain identity, promote communication, and reduce anxiety.” Gerdner (Grandfather’s Story Cloth, 2015, etc.), a registered nurse, draws on the basic principles of an evidence-based protocol that she developed for using music to assist Alzheimer’s patients. The way that the mother involves young Gabrielle with the plan is a nice touch; for example, the girl helps carry Grandma’s scrapbook. Gearino’s full-page illustrations are warm, detailed, and softly colored, contributing to the soothing atmosphere.
Children who may be frightened by a relative’s dementia will find reassurance in this informative, approachable story.