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Formats
Hardcover Details
  • 08/2020
  • 978-1-7347176-0-0
  • 32 pages
  • $16.99
Bonny Gable
Author
Who Will Hear Begonia?
Bonny Gable, author
“Who Will Hear Begonia?” is a children’s picture book for ages four through eight. It celebrates the value of attending to the small voices among us while it facilitates an understanding of Alzheimer’s disease. In the story, Nana’s memory illness has stolen her beautiful smile, but Emma and Kara try all sorts of antics to bring it back. Their dachshund Begonia knows how and tries to tell them as best a little dog can, but no one is paying attention. When the three finally work together to recapture Nana’s smile they discover that, although her mind works differently now, Nana’s love for them was never lost.
Reviews
Young readers will be delighted by this poignant picture book about Begonia, a thoughtful dachshund who wonders: is anyone paying attention? Misunderstood Begonia tries to help but always seems to end up being scolded by her human family of Kara, Emma, and Mom. One of the family’s most frequent activities is visiting their Nana, whose memory loss causes her not to recognize her granddaughters. Kara and Emma have noticed that their grandmother doesn’t talk or even smile anymore—and this makes them sad. Begonia wants to help make Nana feel better, but when she tries to pick flowers for Nana, she gets in trouble for her muddy paws. The girls set out on a mission to make Nana happy again, but it isn’t until Begonia joins them on a visit that Nana smiles. She’s reminded of her family dachshund, Hilda. Nana finally feels joy again, while the girls learn about Nana’s illness and are reassured that her memory loss doesn’t mean she loves them any less.

Gable does a great job of presenting the information about Nana’s memory loss in a subtle, age-appropriate way through Mom’s answers to Kara and Emma’s questions. (“That’s how her illness works. She can remember things from a long, long time ago. She just can’t remember things now.”) Readers will be heartened to learn that even the smallest thing can ignite a cherished memory from long ago, and that great ideas can come from unexpected places.

Stephenson’s watercolor illustrations are soft and gentle, with whimsical elements such as imaginary birds appearing when Emma's flute music mimics birdsong, and Kara's gymnastics display is as dynamic as Begonia's “wild romping.” The art perfectly compliments Begonia’s personality and the ethos of this sweet book. When Nana hugs Emma and Kara while calling them by her daughters’ names, Begonia reassures them (and the reader) that “Whoever Nana sees, she still loves ALL of us!” This story of a family finding caring ways through a difficult situation is well suited to young dog lovers and those whose loved ones have memory loss.

Takeaway: Parents will find this kind and gentle picture book a perfect way to open a conversation with young children about a grandparent's memory loss.

Great for fans of Veronique van de Abeele’s Still My Grandma, Kelly Starling Lyons’s Tea Cakes for Tosh.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: B

Formats
Hardcover Details
  • 08/2020
  • 978-1-7347176-0-0
  • 32 pages
  • $16.99

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