CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 12 . . . . February 17, 2006
This Australian team has fashioned a poignant, yet simple story of a boy reflecting on other grandmothers who are so very different from his own. These grandmothers are busy, involved, active, even productive and full of life, like Sophie's gran who bakes wonderful sponge cakes, or Raffie's nona who drives a florist van, and Alex's grandmother who knits him long scarves.
But each page that outlines the activities of these grandmothers is matched by another page where the boy sadly states the refrain that "My Gran's Different".
The most touching moment occurs when he compares his gran to that of Dimitri's baba "who died before he was born."
The text has a poetic grace dealing with a frightening and melancholy disease. The simple narrative uses effective language that shows both emotion and compassion for those with Alzheimer's. This unaffected approach concludes on a positive and uplifting note with the boy's last thought displaying the kind of acceptance and love that only a child can give. "But that's all right, because I remember who she is."
The soft, impressionistic, and gentle watercolours perfectly suit this story. The splashes of pastel colours reflect the serious topic, yet still capture the essence of the many different grandmothers portrayed. Told through a young person's eyes, this story is heartfelt, deeply touching and personal. This book could be a comforting choice to share with a child who can relate to a grandparent suffering from this illness.
Reesa Cohen is an Instructor of Children's Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.