Dancing with memories by Sally Yule. Illus. by Cheryl Orsini

cover image

With its heart firmly in a teaching mode, this educative story will be used in many classrooms and homes where dementia is the topic for discussion. And used alongside such timeless books as Mem Fox’s Wilfred Gordon MacDonald Partridge (1997) and Phil Cummings’ Newspaper hats (2016) children will get some idea of what has happened with their older family member.

Sally Yule working with Professor Martins has created a story of an older woman and her dance with memories. Memories that come and go, memories that are sometimes foggy and sometimes clear. She has her favourite walks, knows her neighbours and parks, and routinely walks to the park to meet her friend and his dog. She remembers that her family loves her. She remembers her grand daughter’s wedding is today and so sets off. She has forgotten that her daughter is calling for her. She boards the bus then finds she is in a an unfamiliar place. But walking further finds she is not far from home.

Here she meets her daughter and they set off for the celebration, where she remembers to dance at the wedding.

This charming story with a very happy ending will have wide appeal to younger readers who will be able to relate stories of someone they know who has a failing memory. Notes at the end by Professor Margins help give information about this disease, Dementia, and will help younger readers understand the disease that they see in their family.

Illustrations by Cheryl Orsini are most inviting, showing an older woman and her routines. I love the double page which shows what she can remember: she walks and writes, gardens and sings, sometimes cries and laughs. An appendix by Maggie Beer emphasises the colourful, diverse diet needed by the very young as they develop, and this is followed by a number of recipes which promote this, giving variety to school lunch boxes.

Themes: Diet, Dementia, Ageing, Recipes.

Fran Knight