Flowers for Grandpa Dan: A Gentle Story to Help Children Understand Alzheimer's Disease
by Connie McIntyre
Published by Thumbprint Press
32 pages, 2005
Compassion Between the Pages
Reviewed by Mary Ward Menke
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain, resulting in loss of memory, thinking and language skills and behavioral changes. It affects more than four--and-a-half million people in the United States. One thing that Alzheimer's does not change is the love shared by patients and their families.
Flowers for Grandpa Dan tells the story of Danny, a young boy who enjoys working in the flower beds with his father and Grandpa Dan. Danny likes things just the way they are, and finds it hard to cope when Grandpa Dan becomes more and more confused due to Alzheimer's. Eventually, he is unable to continue gardening and Danny and his father must find new ways to help him continue to appreciate the flowers he has loved all his life. After Grandpa Dan's death, Danny and his father return to gardening in celebration of his life.
A children's book, Flowers for Grandpa Dan opens the lines of communication and provides much-needed information regarding Alzheimer's disease. It is a must-read for families who have been touched by the illness. The story is told in easy-to-understand language without talking down to the reader. The subtitle, A Gentle Story... is an apt description.
Connie McIntyre, coauthor of Upside Downside Inside Out: Poems About Being a Kid, wrote Flowers for Grandpa Dan after caring for her father-in-law who had the disease and seeing the effect the experience had on her young children. Her mother, Louise McIntyre, illustrated the book with vibrant watercolor pictures that remind us of the beauty of life, even in the face of struggle. The mother-daughter team successfully combined their talents to create a story about the power of love. | August 2005
Mary Ward Menke is a contributing editor to January Magazine and the owner of WordAbilities, LLC, providing writing and editing services to businesses and individuals. Her work has been published in The Toastmaster, Dog Fancy and Science of Mind magazines, in the Suburban Journals (a weekly St. Louis community newspaper) and on STLtoday.com.