Friday, 31 May 2019

ReaditDaddy's Picture Book of the Week - Week Ending 31st May 2019: "Me and Mrs Moon" by Helen Bate (Otter-Barry Books)

We both miss Nan. Nan, my grandmother, and C's great-grandmother succumbed to Dementia 3 years ago - so it's fair to say that we approach children's books that deal with this horrific illness with some trepidation.

"Me and Mrs Moon" by Helen Bate once again demonstrates just how Helen manages to take the trickiest subjects to turn into children's stories, and turns them into something both brilliantly observant and sensitively conveyed.

"Me and Mrs Moon" tells a story from the perspective of two young children who adore their elderly neighbour.

Maisie and Dylan love Mrs Moon. She picks them up from school every day and they have great fun together. 

But then things start to get strange: a coat without sleeves, old socks as Christmas decorations, a missing dog, an imaginary folk band. 

These are as real to Mrs Moon as the nose on her face, but to the children it's very confusing behaviour, and they can't understand what's happening to their friend. 

​Maisie and Dylan resolve to try and help Mrs Moon get her old self back. But where to start? How can two kids achieve the seemingly impossible?

Straight off the bat this book deserves huge praise for not trying to dress Dementia up, instead very carefully conveying both the sense of hopelessness that loved ones feel when someone they love is stricken by it, and the sense of frustration the sufferer feels as they are robbed of the methods of imparting just what is happening to them. 

Helen's "Peter in Peril" had us entirely convinced that she was a huge talent to watch, and "Me and Mrs Moon" just reinforces that belief. This is superb. 

Sum this book up in a sentence: One of the most impressive, important and sensitive children's stories about dementia that we've seen so far and one that made us both happy and sad in equal measure. 

"Me and Mrs Moon" by Helen Bate is out now, published by Otter-Barry Books (kindly supplied for review).