The Forgettery

The Forgettery
Rachel Ip and Laura Hughes
Egmont Books

Memory loss and dementia are ever increasing and although adults are well aware of this challenging topic, it’s not easy to open up a discussion with young children about why a much loved grandparent for instance, is unable to remember things. Sharing this beautiful book is a wonderful place to start: it never once mentions the word dementia during the story of Amelia and her Granny and their adventure together.

From the outset we’re told that Granny is forgetful, sometimes being unable to recall where she’s put the marmalade or where she keeps her socks but sometimes forgetting important things like special moments. Amelia is a daydreamer and explorer and this means that she too is apt to be a bit forgetful.
One day while exploring in the forest together they stumble upon a strange place called The Forgettery and decide to investigate.

They receive a warm welcome and Amelia explains that they’ve forgotten their way home. The kindly Memory Keeper invites them aboard a hot air balloon and off they go

eventually arriving at a door labelled with Granny’s name. Inside it’s enormous on account of all the memories it’s storing: ‘Moments of delight, lost and forgotten, fluttering in the room like butterflies.’ Sensory experiences including the smell of fresh bread, the crunch of autumn leaves underfoot and the giddy joy of cartwheeling. Granny chooses her very favourites from among them all

and then they move on to Amelia’s Forgettery. This is a small room and while Amelia is delighting in its contents, they receive a message reminding them it time to head home to dinner.

Back indoors Amelia decides to make an illustrated book of all the memories Granny had collected at her Forgettery and henceforward Amelia would take a photo of each fun thing they did together, to add to the book as a special reminder; a book they could always share.

Granny then adds a final item to their list of special things but it’s one neither of them will need to be reminded of …

Both new memories and all the lost, old ones are stored in The Forgettery so the book can equally be shared as an unusual fantasy adventure showing the special relationship between Granny and Amelia. This is highlighted both in Rachel Ip’s warm-hearted telling and Laura Hughes’ gently humorous, equally warm illustrations reflected in her choice of colour palette and the wonderful details in each of the scenes.

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