Monday, September 5, 2016

Summer Reading 2016 What a Beautiful Morning


Books that show the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren are a wonderful reflection of family life. Levine's new book portrays that close relationship between Noah and Grandpa. Whether it is walking the dog or getting coffee for Grandma, they always do it with a song. But when Grandpa starts getting confused and has difficulty remembering, Noah isn't sure how to go on. Grandma counsels him to appreciate what he still has. "Noah thought that was like trying to feel good about the toys you still had, when your favorite one got left behind at the beach." It is a surprise and a relief to everyone when they realize that Grandpa's memory for songs is still strong, and Noah can sing all the songs they have always enjoyed together.

The illustrations show the way forgetfulness or dementia can gradually creep into everyday activities. The pictures go from vibrant, warm colors to having areas that are done in shadowy gray. It might be Grandpa's head partially in shadow, or his breakfast plate when he forgets how to cut his French toast. The day he wakes up from a nap and doesn't recognize Noah is a 2-page spread in those dreary grays, a definite low point. 

The cause of Grandpa's forgetfulness is never explained, it is simply shown, along with how Noah and Grandma support him. Noah sings the tuna sandwich song at lunch, or their morning song as they walk the dog. Grandma lays out his walking clothes and swaps roles to be the one to bring the morning coffee. 

Readers who have enjoyed the way the title character in Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge tries to help his friend Miss Nancy find her lost memory will love Noah's story. Both boys are such caring individuals and become such a help to their older loved ones, one can't help but see the similarity. Families who are dealing with grandparents or great-grandparents with memory problems may want to share this book with the younger generation to help them see they are not alone. It is also perfect for class studies of family stories, and another companion book could be Song and Dance Man(with the tie-in of the music).

Highly recommended for all ages.

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