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A Young Man's Dance

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Overview


A boy tries to stay close to his grandmother as she struggles with Alzheimer's disease. Grandma Ronnie used to love to dance with her grandson in the kitchen as she baked cookies. Now she lives in a nursing home and doesn't remember the cookies or her grandson's name. Seeing Grandma Ronnie is like visiting a stranger-- until one visit, when a band plays at the nursing home. As Grandma Ronnie sways to the music, her grandson sees her in a new light. What he does next ...
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Overview


A boy tries to stay close to his grandmother as she struggles with Alzheimer's disease. Grandma Ronnie used to love to dance with her grandson in the kitchen as she baked cookies. Now she lives in a nursing home and doesn't remember the cookies or her grandson's name. Seeing Grandma Ronnie is like visiting a stranger-- until one visit, when a band plays at the nursing home. As Grandma Ronnie sways to the music, her grandson sees her in a new light. What he does next will lift his grandmother's spirits as well as his own.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Grandma Ronnie is not in her own home anymore. Her grandson misses the fun times that they shared. They would mix cookie dough, then dance to jitterbug music while the cookies baked in the oven. Oh, how Grandma Ronnie loved to dance! But now, Grandma is in a strange place with many other old people. She sits in a wheelchair all day and does not remember her grandson nor their favorite cookies. She has moved into past memories from before his birth. She continues to have one strong memory—she loves to dance. One day her grandson and his mom arrive to find the tables in the dining room pushed against the wall. A band is playing jazzy music and Grandma is swaying to the rhythm. When they approach her, she looks up and reminds them, "Oh, how I love to dance!" Her grandson grabs the handles of her wheelchair and moves her right to the front of the room next to the band. He holds her hands and swirls her around in time to the music. Johnson's pastel paintings fill the pages, evoking a sense of joy and action which offsets the serious tone of the story. A good choice for sharing with children who are trying to understand a relative with some form of dementia. 2006, Boyds Mills Press, Ages 6 to 10.
—Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Swirling, dancing colors, both muted and sunny, accompany this lyrical story about a boy whose grandmother has Alzheimer's disease. The young narrator doesn't like to visit Grandma Ronnie now that she is in a home and no longer recognizes him. The book also showcases the poignant process that moves the boy toward an understanding and acceptance of his different yet still beloved relative. The boy declares "I don't like it here!-It smells funny- there are old people everywhere." His mother says, "Their eyes light up when you come." When he complains that his grandmother "doesn't even like our favorite cookies," his mother gently reminds him that "Grandma Ronnie used to make those cookies for you....It was her gift of love for her favorite grandson." Oil paintings reveal clear, expressive faces on soft, fluid backgrounds that breathe action. In one exuberant picture of happier times, the boy and his grandmother dance together, and she says, "A young man needs to know how to dance if he wants to get himself a girl." This metaphor of dance then symbolically carries through to a very touching ending in which the boy dances with his now wheelchair-bound grandmother. All libraries will want to buy one or more copies of this book.-Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590782590
  • Publisher: Highlights Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton has written a number of books for children and serves as the Ohio regional adviser for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She and her husband and children live in Medina, Ohio.

Layne Johnson is an illustrator of numerous award-winning and critically acclaimed books for children. He is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. He lives in Houston, Texas, with his wife, son, and two cats.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2006

    Great for Alzheimers victims' families

    Wonderful book for families to share. Tearful for me, my mother has Alzheimers. The grandmother so beautifully depicted in the pictures happens to be my very special aunt and the artist capured the love in her eyes & the sweetness of her smile perfectly! She's been immortalized in this wonderful book about a story close to my heart. I recommend it highly - for adults AND children!

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