A delicate, perceptive look at an elderly loved one with dementia.
Julia’s grandmother’s eyes sparkled like candles on a cake, and she always smelled like lilac and cinnamon whenever they cuddled up close. But lately, “ever so slowly, like a low tide leaving the bay, a change came along.” Julia’s grandma is becoming more and more forgetful. Van Laan gently takes readers through the different stages of dementia, from Grandma forgetting names (“she liked to scramble our names for breakfast instead of eggs”) and then events, forgetting where she parked, mixing things up in the kitchen and repeating herself to eventually wandering outside in a snowstorm and being unable to care for herself. Told from Julia’s perspective, the story is tinged with the little girl’s confusion and worry, but the ultimate tone is one of love and reassurance. Julia knows there is no cure but still hugs her grandma tight every time they visit. A soft palette of warm greens and yellows and the unmistakable blue of forget-me-not flowers blankets readers in a wash of grandmotherly comfort.
Poignant but not overly sentimental—and actually quite light in some places—this quiet offering opens up a discussion of a condition that affects many. (Picture book. 4-8)