When Timmie and his parents go to visit his grandmother in the nursing home, he can't understand why everyone acts as though nothing is wrong. A warm, touching story of a family discovering how much they need and love one another.---from the publisher
32 pages 978-0395633090 Ages 4-7
Keywords: family, multigenerational, retirement home, grandmother, feelings, fears, emotions, honesty, connection, love, elderly, 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old
Ages 5-8. About to visit his grandmother at the Sunshine Home for the first time, seven-year-old Timmie is scared but won't say so. Yet he describes the building as "barf green," his stomach hurts when he enters, and he notices his mom speaks in a "bright and sparkly" voice he's never heard before. Once inside, the visit goes well. Best of all, Gram seems the same. But as soon as Timmie and his parents leave, Timmie's mom dissolves into tears.
When Timmie runs back inside to give Gram the school picture he'd forgotten, he finds her also sobbing. Gram apologizes and explains she doesn't want anyone to know she's unhappy because it's easier on everyone that way. But Timmie, remembering how his fears were allayed when he confessed them to his dad, insists, "It's better when you tell. Honest. You don't feel so scared." With that, Timmie hurriedly retrieves his parents, and the four share their feelings about missing each other.
In her realistic watercolors, de Groat defines the images of Bunting's tender, true-to-life story: Timmie's face stares out at readers with apprehension before he enters the home, then registers discomfort at seeing a bib tied to Gram when she eats, and finally relaxes when he talks with Gram. Scenes in the home are painted in institutional greens, yellows, and corals culled from the floral motifs in the wallpaper and curtains.
Youngsters whose families are wrestling with similar concerns over an elderly or unwell grandparent will especially relate to the dilemma conveyed here with honesty and some sadness but with a prevailing hopefulness. Ellen Mandel on Booklist