Thursday, 20 March 2014

Really and Truly (A Story About Dementia) by Emilie Rivard and Anne-Clair Delisle (Franklin Watts)

Really and Truly (a story about dementia)

Written by Emilie Rivard

Illustrated by Anne-Clair Delisle

Published by Franklin Watts

This was a very tough book to review as dementia is a subject that has been uppermost in our minds of late. Both of Charlotte's great grandmothers are in the early stages of suffering from dementia, and the impact on our families (both on my side and on my wife's side) has been devastating. Two vibrant people are left like completely hollow shells by this progressive disease and sometimes it's really hard to explain to Charlotte what's going on.

We snuggled down with this book and took our time with it because it really does help a lot.

In the story a young boy, Charlie, loves his Grandpa more than anything in the world. Grandpa is always full of fun, always has wise words and is always pleased to see Charlie - making up great games and coming up with daft jokes and crazy tricks to entertain his favourite grandson.

Charlie always looks forward to visiting Grandpa, but one day his Grandpa isn't behaving like he normally does. There are no games, no jokes, in fact it's all the family can do to divert Grandpa's attention away from the window as he listlessly watched the traffic go by.

Charlie is upset, but he comes up with some fantastic ideas to see if he can get a bit of the 'old' Grandpa back. Charlie's patience and love shine through, and his perseverance slowly shows tiny glimmers of paying off as Grandpa shows signs of his old self are still buried inside him.

Even describing the story brings a lump to my throat and this was a book that had Charlotte and I wrapped up in hugs as we both read it quietly.

I tried to explain the science behind dementia, what happens to someone who begins to suffer from it but it was far better to use this book as intended, to explain what was happening to Charlie's grandpa and indeed our own grandparents.

I've seen one or two books dealing with the subject, sometimes they work and sometimes they don't quite hit the mark but this is a very sensitive, thoughtful book and comes highly recommended if dementia is affecting your family in a similar way.

Charlotte's best bit: Charlie doing tricks with Grandpa to cheer him up

Daddy's Favourite bit: Brilliant fun for tiddlers, beautifully illustrated and told

(Kindly sent to us for review by Franklin Watts)