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What's Happening to Grandpa?    by Maria Shriver & Sandra Speidel order for
What's Happening to Grandpa?
by Maria Shriver
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2004 (2004)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Maria Shriver once again offers a picture book on a tough, but important subject. In What's Wrong with Timmy?, it was a child with special needs. In What's Happening to Grandpa?, it's a family member with Alzheimer's. As in the author's other works, important points are highlighted in a larger font, and Sandra Speidel's paintings create a very special feeling to go with the text.

Kate is, as girls often are, 'curious, sensitive, and wise beyond her age.' Her Grandpa loves to tell stories; he's 'one of a kind'. But when Grandpa begins to repeat his stories, to forget things, and to show how frustrated this makes him, Kate asks her mom 'what's happening to Grandpa?'. Kate's mother explains that the family has to be patient and 'just keep on loving and respecting Grandpa the way we always have.' Being the girl she is, Kate wants to help. She makes a scrapbook of Grandpa's life from old photos and the stories that he tells her to go with them. Grandpa reassures her that, despite his fading memory, he still find 'joy in each new day' and that the important memories will forever be in his heart.

What's Happening to Grandpa? is a sensitively written account, that shows how children can be helped to deal with family tragedies by getting involved. Kate and her Grandpa create time together that the child will remember 'forever and ever.'

Note: A Teacher's Guide is available for the book.

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