POP'S SECRET by Maryann & Ronnie Stern Townsend


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A photo-album reminiscence of a beloved grandfather who's died--meant to help other children adjust to such a loss, but best maybe as an evocation of the many links between generations (part of the lesson too, of course). ""Pop came to live with us when he was too lonely living by himself in an apartment,"" says Mark. ""Pop's room was on our third floor, and he got to eat all his meals with us."" The observations and the locutions are a child's, and alongside is a photo of Pop's snug room from a child's angle of vision and another of Pop (hale and hearty--and natty), Mark, and little brother Chris sharing a snack. Further daily doings follow, and then we flash back to Pop's birthplace and the story of his youth, WW I service (as a pilot), marriage, and fatherhood--all handsomely pictured (because, says the flap copy, his father ""was a skilled photographer""). Paired pictures also point up the resemblance between Pop as a boy, and Chris and Mark (""It makes me feel good when people tell me we look alike""). Then Pop turns 83, gets sick, and dies: ""I remembered a secret that Pop once told me. He said there wasn't room on his cake for any more candles. He couldn't have any more birthdays."" A dubious, gimmicky twist--followed, however, by scenes of cemetery, ribbon cockade on door, flag hung out on holidays, and fun at the beach (Pop's ""favorite place"") that suggest how the family honors Pop and keeps his memory fresh. Getting over the loss isn't so much the point as drawing comfort from the memory. Of its kind, quite solid.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Addison-Wesley