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Fiction Picture Book
Pages: 32
Themes: Intergenerational relationships
Publisher: Second Story Press
Pub Date: 01/Sep/2008
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Elise wonders why her grandmother’s words keep escaping her – do they fly off to play tricks on her? Elise’s grandmother used to know many marvelous words, but now she seems to be losing them all the time. Can Elise help her by catching them, like butterflies in a net? This award-winning picture book offers a gentle exploration of the effects of Alzheimer’s on the relationships in a family, and the special bond it creates between a grandmother and her granddaughter. By the end, Elise comes to believe that her grandmother has used up all her words and has passed them on to her, as a gift.

CM Magazine
"Danielle Simard has eloquently captured the whimsy of a child testing and considering a variety of answers to a puzzle. Gently told and beautifully illustrated and with an ending that is both believable and reassuring, The Little Word Catcher will offer a way to open conversations about Alzheimer's in a supportive manner. Highly recommended."
Children's Bookwatch
"A finely developed tool to assist children and families in understanding and accepting the erosions of Alzheimer’s disease in a beloved, familiar, mature mind and psyche."
The Montreal Review of Books
Presents metaphors and coping strategies that a young child can understand.
Professionally Speaking (Ontario College of Teachers)
This is an excellent book for Primary and Junior classrooms. It might also work well as a resource for a response journal for Intermediate students. The subject matter is handled with a sensitivity and depth that will likely promote further discussion among children and their teachers or parents.
Patricia Tilton, Children's Books Heal
Danielle Simard has written a moving and sensitive story about a girl trying to make sense of her grandmother’s memory loss. Such beautiful and inspiring text with a loving and satisfying ending.
Marlene Augerman, ETFO Voice
Audiences of all ages can connect to the characters’ journey to accept and understand their “new normal” through the beautiful drawings and narrative of their interactions at home and outside in nature. The topic of a loved one’s memory loss is presented in a sensitive, child-friendly context of caring family relationships. The author provides us with plenty of optimism to continue Elise’s quest with a spirit of adventure: “…I will have to find out where her words are hiding. I could catch them all with a big net…”


Governor's General Award for Illustration We are dazzled by the refinement and intelligence of the illustrations by Genevive Cote, and by the simple and effective layout. The use of space and the addition of white reinforce the emotion. The technique of successive, reworked photocopies creates a muted, blurry effect that poignantly translates the fading and gradual loss of memory. | 2007 | Winner

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