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An Early Winter

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Tim is distressed to learn that his mom, new stepfather, and grandmother are sure Granddad has Alzheimer's disease. Refusing to accept the possibility that they may be right, Tim persuades Granddad to run away with him on a fishing trip, convinced this will prove that Granddad is still capable of taking care of himself. But on the way to the lake, Granddad keeps forgetting things: their equipment, the soft drinks, even how to make change at the roadside store. When Granddad can't get them out of a dangerous ...

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An Early Winter

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Overview

Tim is distressed to learn that his mom, new stepfather, and grandmother are sure Granddad has Alzheimer's disease. Refusing to accept the possibility that they may be right, Tim persuades Granddad to run away with him on a fishing trip, convinced this will prove that Granddad is still capable of taking care of himself. But on the way to the lake, Granddad keeps forgetting things: their equipment, the soft drinks, even how to make change at the roadside store. When Granddad can't get them out of a dangerous situation on the water but instead makes the problem worse, Tim finally realizes his grandfather has changed . . . but his awareness may have come too late. Well-developed characters and page-turning suspense ensure that this riveting yet poignant novel will hold readers captive.

When eleven-year-old Tim's beloved grandfather develops Alzheimer's Disease, Tim tries to restore and save him by taking him out for a fishing adventure at the pond, but the outing turns into a disaster.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Granddad has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and preteen grandson Tim is deep in denial, attributing the memory losses, confusion, and erratic outbursts of temper to simple old age and pressure from unsympathetic family members. . . . A rosy conclusion just isn't possible, but readers will find comfort in the assurance that Granddad has the unconditional love and support of his family." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Tim has ferociously denied that anything is wrong with his beloved grandfather, but he quickly learns otherwise on a clandestine fishing trip. Although his grandfather exhibits flashes of his old self, he can't make change at the bait store, forgets to pack fresh water or a net, and experiences sudden, frightening mood changes. Worst of all, he keeps withdrawing into an eerie, silent helplessness, and finally walks off into the night, abandoning Tim and the camper. Bauer leaves out pointed lectures and clinical information about the disease to focus on its emotional impact on the victim and those around him....Tim's experience with his grandfather may convince readers with Alzheimer's-stricken relatives that denial serves no purpose, and that the only response may be to surround the victim with loving, responsible family.
Kirkus Reviews

"With its humane, complicated characters, this makes a good choice for discussion." Booklist, ALA

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bauer explores the grim effects of Alzheimer's disease in this intergenerational story. PW wrote, "The book offers a realistic depiction of this incapacitating disease." Ages 9-12. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
"Alzheimer's disease," said Tim's mother. He thought she said "old-timer's disease" but that just baffles him because his grandfather is only sixty-three, not an old man. Except for the last three months, eleven-year-old Tim and his mother had always lived with his paternal grandparents. Tim is convinced that his Granddad will be all right if Tim moves back in. When the talk turns to putting Granddad in a nursing home, Tim convinces him they should run away. They go to their favorite campsite, deserted now that early autumn is here. Readers will cheer as Tim and his Granddad set out on their fishing expedition. All too soon, however, reality sets in as his grandfather's confusion leads to a life-threatening situation. Bauer has aptly captured the early stages of Alzheimer's and its accompanying emotional trauma. The strong bond between grandfather and grandson is conveyed without maudlin sentimentality. Readers will quickly identify with Tim, and gradually empathize with his mother and grandmother in this successful adventure story.
Kirkus Reviews
A leaden, purposeful tale of a child encountering the reality of Alzheimer's. Tim has ferociously denied that anything is wrong with his beloved grandfather, but he quickly learns otherwise on a clandestine fishing trip. Although his grandfather exhibits flashes of his old self, he can't make change at the bait store, forgets to pack fresh water or a net, and experiences sudden, frightening mood changes. Worst of all, he keeps withdrawing into an eerie, silent helplessness, and finally walks off into the night, abandoning Tim and the camper. Bauer leaves out pointed lectures and clinical information about the disease to focus on its emotional impact on the victim and those around him. That focus wavers with the sudden, gratuitous revelation that Tim's long-vanished father was exiled from the family for being a cocaine addict; still, Tim's experience with his grandfather may convince readers with Alzheimer's-stricken relatives that denial serves no purpose, and that the only response may be to surround the victim with loving, responsible family. (Fiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395903728
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/28/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 8.72 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

MARION DANE BAUER has written more than 80 children's books, including picture books, easy readers, early chapter books, and novels. She won a Newbery Honor for On My Honor , a middle grade coming-of-age story. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. Visit her website at www.mariondanebauer.com.

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