Why Does Grampy Forget My Name?
by Curtis Cooper
Barrel of Monkeys Publishing Co.

"'Whatever he does you’ve got to remember,
it just really isn’t his fault.'"

This story told in rhyme begins with a family outing to visit Grampy and Grandma. The family arrives by car late in the day. Johnny rushes to find his pal, Grampy, but returns puzzled by the older man’s strange behavior. Grandma assures her visitors that he will be better in the morning, as he’s always more tired at night. However, the whole truth comes out the next day. Grampy’s memory has failed; Grandma calls it Old-Timers’ disease. Will he get better? The doctors have no cure. Grandma sums it up in a rhyme: “the older he gets, the more he forgets.”

This book for middle-grade readers offers advice on what a child can do to help, such as sing slowly so the relative can follow along. Music is the last thing that goes as memory fades. Except for some occasional use of vocabulary beyond the target audience’s grade level, the author seems to have made every effort to reach his young audience. Children should easily relate to the up-to-date representations of Johnny’s family.

Cooper deserves credit for tackling a tough topic. Alzheimer’s disease will indeed distress the children and grandchildren of anyone who has the disease. The topic also raises fear in seniors as they near their declining decades. They worry that the disease may be hereditary and whether their own senior moments might be more than a laughing matter. The author includes one graphic that addresses this senior audience. Cooper has a varied background as a songwriter, seminarian, and grade school music teacher. He has worked with Alzheimer patients since 2013. The author dedicates this book to his grandfather, who had the disease, and to caretakers who assist Alzheimer patients.

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