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Reviewed by Diana Lopez for Readers' Favorite
We often delay talking about illness and death with children. It is normal not to worry them unduly, but they need to be informed about possible real-life situations to avoid confusion should these arise. This will enable them to externalize their doubts and fears. Ice Cream with Grandpa: A Loving Story for Kids About Alzheimer’s and Dementia will motivate children to express their feelings. Laura Smetana was inspired by a real situation and shares her experience with her son and his grandfather. The story is about a little boy who loves spending time with his grandfather. Whenever they could, they ate ice cream together. One day, the mom explained to her son that the doctor had diagnosed his grandfather with dementia. Grandpa began to struggle to remember things from day to day. The boy also noticed how his grandfather's behavior gradually changed. This book explains the disease and its consequences in an easy-to-understand manner.
Ice Cream with Grandpa is both sad and emotional. I thought it was a charming story as, despite the difficulties, the child accompanied his grandfather at all times. Such behavior is admirable and illustrates that the importance of family should never be ignored. Older people may require more care, but all of us need love. The images express the beautiful moments with empathy. The scenes employ a soft and cheerful color palette. I admired the way Laura Smetana teaches children that there is no need to be afraid of these situations and I think it is essential to reinforce the lessons taught. We have to take advantage of the best moments with the people we love because we don't know what the future holds.