Phyllis & Grace

Phyllis & Grace
Nigel Gray and Bethan Welby
Scallywag Press

In this moving story, a little girl Grace pays regular visits to her next door neighbour, an elderly woman who lives by herself. Whenever she visits, Grace takes Phyllis something: a slice of cake, a bowl of stew, biscuits she’s baked herself,

jelly and a drawing she’s done at school.

It’s obvious that Phyllis enjoys Grace’s visits but as she shares with her, stories about her life, it’s evident that her memory is fading – names are forgotten, things misplaced, and events confused. Nonetheless despite the huge difference in age and Phyllis’s increasing disorientation, Grace forms a strong bond with her neighbour and eventually goes regularly to visit her in an old people’s home and even meets her son who takes Grace somewhere very special.

Basing the story on the experience of his own granddaughter and her neighbour, author Nigel Gray’s story is told with great sensitivity and equally sensitively illustrated in Bethan Welby’s gentle watercolour scenes. Together words and pictures beautifully document the progression of dementia and how it might appear, from a young child’s viewpoint. A book for adults and children to share and discuss as gently as it’s presented by its creators.

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