Review Blog

Aug 17 2017

Grandma forgets by Paul Russell

cover image

Ill. by Nicky Johnston. EK, 2017. ISBN 9781925335477
Picture book. 'My grandmother forgets who I am. Every time we meet, it likes meeting someone new...
Even though Grandma can't remember us, we have so many memories of her.'
There are the sausages as big as elephant's legs that she served for Sunday lunch; going to the beach; snuggled in together with a hot-water bottle and a blanket watching the nighttime storms split the sky... The little girl and her dad have memories galore that they share with her in her new home with the painted garden and people who remember for her.
Young children encountering older relatives who are succumbing to the challenges of the ageing process are becoming more common as generations live longer than ever, and so stories that help them deal with what can be a confronting situation are always welcome. This is a gentle comforting story about the enduring love between the generations, although if Grandma is 80 as her birthday cake shows there seems to be a skipped generation in the chain. My own grandchildren would appear to be about the age of the children in the story and they faced this situation with their great-grandmothers, not their grandmas. We are only in our 60s!
Nevertheless, this is an uplifting story that shows how children embrace the changing circumstances, accepting the changes and the challenges and working with them, rather than taking them as a personal rejection. There are adults who could learn from this unconditional love that children display and how they adapt so they almost become the adult themselves. And while there are old memories to recall, there are always new ones to make.
The soft palette and lines chosen by the illustrator portray the beautiful memories perfectly and the love between them all just oozes from the page setting up the perfect opportunity to let the children tell and draw their own stories of their own special moments with their grandparents, perhaps cementing them even more firmly.
A family story that provides lots of comfort.
Barbara Braxton

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