Elisabeth Steinkellner, Author
Michael Roher, Illustrator
Connie Straddling Morby, Translation
Sky Pony Press, Fiction, September 2012
Suitable for: Ages 4-8
Themes: Grandmother, Aging, Dementia, Family, Love, Acceptance
Opening/Synopsis: My old Granny used to make a fuss about my hairdo. “Fini, what have you done to your beautiful hair again?” she sighed and shook her head, not understanding.” Fini’s Granny used to comment on her strange hair styles, help her feed the ducks in the park and cooked exotic meals from the strange places she visited. Fini’s Granny has changed. She likes her unusual hairdo, eats the bread crumbs instead of feeding them to the ducks and moves into Fini’s house. Fini is puzzled by Granny’s strange behavior and isn’t sure how she feels about the changes. Granny used to take care of her, now she and her family have to help Granny.
Why I like this book: Elisabeth Steinkellner has written a touching and empathetic story about an aging grandparent who is suffering from dementia. She realistically captures Fini’s confusion about the changes that occur when her Granny is diagnosed with dementia. But Fini learns to love and accept the changes of her new Granny. With the growing number of older adults affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia, this is a helpful resource for children. The author is from Austria and the book has been translated into English by Connie Straddling Morby.
Michael Roher’s illustrations have an Austrian flavor. His technique is unusual and he offered to share his process. ”I used colored ink (fine-pen and marker) as well as red and brown pencils and pastels,” says Roher. “For some surfaces I used a monoprint-technique to create interesting structures. I used a roll to apply the color (water-soluble color for linoleum-prints) on the paper, cut out the pieces I needed and glued them onto my pictures.” His illustrations are unique, warm and show compassion among the characters.
This book has been provided to me free of charge by the publisher in exchange for an honest review of the work.