Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Grandpa Monty's Muddles

Grandpa Monty's Muddles, a picture book by Spanish author Marta Zafrilla and illustrated by Miguel Angel Diez, is about a boy named Oscar who tells us, "I'm not only seven years old: I'm seven years, two months and ten days old." Check out the Kirkus Review .

Oscar, with his love of detail is just the right boy to buddy up with is grandfather who has Alzeimer's Disease and, as is typical, is slowly losing his memory and judgement.

Zafrilla has not simply written a how-to book for kids on how to help out a relative with dementia. She's created an engaging and funny story arc.

Grandpa moves in when he starts to do dangerous things, the epitome of which is confusing a tree for his mailbox. He has already tried to cook a sweater, iron a fish and . . . do what with a chicken?

Oscar with his love of detail, labels everything in the house to help Grandpa connect words with objects. Oscar's diligence goes a little overboard and his mother finally puts her foot down when the unhappy cat named Yoko jumps "around the house full of notes with thumbtacks and tape."

Still Oscar doesn't give up and finds intelligent ways to help, even though, we are gently told, Grandpa Monty will never be what he once was, ever again.

What I was particularly fond of was the art work. It was unusual and grew on me. The strange and unusual faces in this family, all with long pointy noses and rounded bodies, made me laugh. They helped make this picture book which is about a very difficult problem faced by many, entertaining for children and adult caregivers as well. Understanding is key to getting involved and Grandpa Monty's Muddles will inspire kids to get involved.

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