By Danielle Simard, Author
Genevieve Cote, Illustrator
Second Story Press, Fiction, 2008
Suitable for Ages: 5-8
Themes: Grandparents, Memory Loss, Family Relationships
Opening: “Did you know that words could get lost? My Grandmother misplaces her words all the time. She loses them even more often than her keys. Do they fly off just to play tricks on her? I wonder where they go.”
Synopsis: Elise watches her grandmother begin to lose her words. Sometimes her grandmother is sad. annoyed, and frustrated when she can’t remember her words. Elise is puzzled because her grandmother knew millions of words. Are her words hiding? Can she catch every single lost word in a net and bring them back to her grandmother before it’s too late? A special bond develops between grandmother and granddaughter. And Elise decides that her grandmother’s words are wearing out like an old dress. And maybe her grandmother is giving the words they shared to her as a gift.
What I like about this book: Danielle Simard has written a moving and sensitive story about a girl trying to make sense of her grandmother’s memory loss. I especially like how Simard allows the girl to come up with her own heartwarming thoughts about memory loss and how she chooses to deal with her grandma. Such beautiful and inspiring text with a loving and satisfying ending. This is one of the most unusual stories I’ve read about grandparents with memory loss or dementia. I highly recommend The Little Word Catcher if you have aging loved ones with memory issues. Genevieve Cote’s award-winning watercolors are whimsical and emotive. They add some lightness to a serious topic.
Resources: The book alone is a great resource to use to start a discussion with your children when you have aging parents with memory loss. Parents may want to check out the Kids and Teen page of the Alzheimer’s Association and a post from the Carolina Parent blog about Talking to Kids About Aging Grandparents.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.