Grandpa's Music: A Story About Alzheimer's

Overview

Grandpa takes care of the garden, kneads bread, and makes music on the piano. Everyone in Callie's family helps out around the house, now that Grandpa, who has Alzheimer's, lives with them. The family becomes Grandpa's "home team," and Callie loves spending time with them. As months go by, Grandpa forgets more, and he can't do as much as he could before. But he can still make music - his fingers remember the notes on the piano. And when he can't recall the words to a favorite old song, Callie helps him come up ...

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Overview

Grandpa takes care of the garden, kneads bread, and makes music on the piano. Everyone in Callie's family helps out around the house, now that Grandpa, who has Alzheimer's, lives with them. The family becomes Grandpa's "home team," and Callie loves spending time with them. As months go by, Grandpa forgets more, and he can't do as much as he could before. But he can still make music - his fingers remember the notes on the piano. And when he can't recall the words to a favorite old song, Callie helps him come up with new things that they can sing about together. Alison Acheson's thoughtful storytelling and Bill Farnsworth's touching paintings portray a family that learns to adapt to the challenges of Alzheimer's disease while making the very best of their time together.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
When Callie's grandpa moves in with her family, everyone has to make adjustments. For Callie, the hardest change is to understand how to help Grandpa feel better about the losses he is experiencing due to his Alzheimer's. As Carrie looks for ways to help him feel competent, she remembers how they have always shared his singing and piano-playing. That link continues even after Grandpa ends up in a nursing home. While the story is sensitively done, it shows the limitations of this kind of issue book: It is too abstract for those who do not have the experience and not explicit enough for those who do. My two young test readers did not find it very satisfactory, since their grandparent is in a much more advanced stage of this devastating disease. They said it did not help them with their big questions like "How do you get Alzheimer's?" and "Will I get it too?" However, I could see that while the book itself was not terribly helpful, it did trigger an important discussion about these complex questions. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—This story concentrates on how the relationship between a child and her grandfather, who has Alzheimer's disease, changes but remains loving and strong. When Grandpa comes to live with her family, Callie's parents make a chart so everyone can remember their responsibilities. Grandpa's jobs are to garden, knead bread, and peel potatoes. Callie impulsively adds, "Make music," thereby establishing a bond that will link the two of them even as her grandfather's memory worsens. When he can't remember a song's lyrics, he and Callie cheerfully make them up. The passage of a year realistically depicts Grandpa's changing medical condition. Even when he must go to a nursing home, however, Callie and Grandpa play the piano and sing together. The illustrations, rendered in oil paint, are lit with a warm glow that captures the family's feelings. Grandpa's face shows his confusion as well as his enjoyment of the music. By concentrating on the girl's perspective, the book presents a simple but powerful message for children who may face a similar situation. The story does not deny the sadness of Alzheimer's, but demonstrates a way to continue loving the person the relative becomes.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
Kirkus Reviews
This emotional look at a family living with Alzheimer's disappoints with its lack of depth. The story begins with Grandpa moving in with narrator Callie and her family in the spring. While the interactions among family members are sweetly portrayed, readers may be confused as to why Grandpa needs taking care of-Alzheimer's is mentioned only in the subtitle and author's note and never truly explained. Callie is almost preternaturally in tune with Grandpa's changing needs, given her age (perhaps eight or ten). With her calm and reassuring manner, Callie helps Grandpa find the piano and make up words to the songs he has forgotten. Her memories of the time she has spent with her grandfather are lovingly rendered. As the year progresses, Grandpa forgets more and more things, but his fingers still remember how to play the piano. Farnsworth masterfully portrays the emotions and activities that pass between Callie and Grandpa. The love within this family is quite evident. This may comfort families in similar situations, but as an educational tool about Alzheimer's, it falls flat. (Picture book. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807530528
  • Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Company
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,464,738
  • Age range: 8 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: AD480L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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