Fireflies, Peach Pies, and Lullabies

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When Francie's Great-Granny Annabel dies after suffering from Alzheimer's disease, Francie must battle the emptiness she feels--and the "emptiness" she fears others will associate with her great-grandmother's last years. By asking the family to record their favorite recollections of the real Annabel, Francie discovers and nurtures the small gifts of memory that are the legacy of a loved one's life. Full color.

When Francie's Great-Granny Annabel dies of Alzheimer's ...

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Overview

When Francie's Great-Granny Annabel dies after suffering from Alzheimer's disease, Francie must battle the emptiness she feels--and the "emptiness" she fears others will associate with her great-grandmother's last years. By asking the family to record their favorite recollections of the real Annabel, Francie discovers and nurtures the small gifts of memory that are the legacy of a loved one's life. Full color.

When Francie's Great-Granny Annabel dies of Alzheimer's disease, Francie finds a way to help people remember the real person rather than the shell she had become as the disease ran its course.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Dia L. Michels
Young Francie cannot bear to hear others speak poorly of her great-grandmother, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. After she dies, it pains Francie to think that she will only be remembered as an "empty shell." Out of love for her great-grandmother, Francie moves everyone to remember her for the lovely things she did for others throughout her life. The story becomes a celebration of life, both young and old. A touching reminder of the beauty one life can bring to a community, and reminds us how children can help us remember never to forget.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Francie, the young heroine of this story, understands the heart of her Great- Granny Anabel and is able to help heal the adults around her when Anabel dies. The adults worry that Francie will remember only the vague memory-failed frail woman, but Francie remembers her "cotton-dress smell" and the snugness of the rainbow Afghan her granny made her. The adults cling to the sadness of the funeral until Francie begins to ask them to contribute a written memory to her glass jar of remembrances. These memories are then read as a moving and poetic collage, a healing tribute to Anabel.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Great-Granny Annabel spends most of her time "...staring at something no one else can see." Her family worries that she will be remembered as an empty shell of a person, but her hugs still feel good to Francie. When the elderly woman dies, Francie recalls all the special things about her. Later, at the funeral home, she asks each person there to write something about Great-Granny Annabel. People jot down memories of fireflies, her bird feeder, a poem she wrote, and her peach pies. Francie adds "lullabies" to the list. The minister reads all the memories during the funeral service, making it a real celebration of the woman's life. This is a lovely story of a child confronting the loss of a loved one and helping everyone focus on the good times rather than illness and death. It also does a fine job of showing what happens at a funeral home and service, which is not often shown in picture books. The realistic gouache illustrations are done in rich, bright hues and warmly evoke the various moods of the text. This is an excellent book to use with children to talk about death, but it also succeeds as a story.-Jane Gardner Connor, South Carolina State Library, Columbia
Susan Dove Lempke
Though Great-Granny Annabel forgets family names and can no longer dress herself, Francie knows that she is far from being the "empty shell" her mother and aunt call her. Then at Great-Granny's wake, Francie sees the expressions on everyone's faces and wonders what they are remembering. Getting a piece of paper, she asks each person to write down a favorite memory; gradually, the paper fills up with thoughts of Great-Granny's peach pies, bird-feeding, and singing, among other memories. Kroll perhaps smooths over a child's reaction to living with an elderly relative who behaves erratically, but she sensitively depicts the sorrow and celebration found in remembering a beloved person on her death. Cote's gouache paintings are expressive and endearing, catching people in their variety and nicely conveying memories without confusing younger children. This will be a fine choice both for families coping with the lost memories of Alzheimer's and those facing a wake and funeral.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689802911
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/1/1995
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.34 (w) x 10.36 (h) x 0.42 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great children's book for dealing with death

    This is one of my favorite children's books ever! Leave it to a child to bring out the meaning of life after the death of a loved one. The perfect book to help children with the grieving process and a reminder to everyone to remember the good things about a person and bury the bad.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great children's book for dealing with death

    This is one of my favorite children's book ever! Leave it to a child to bring out the meaning of life, after a death of a loved one. The perfect book to help children with the grieving process and a reminder to everyone to remember the good things about a person and bury the bad.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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