Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Harry Helps Grandpa Remember

Harry Helps Grandpa Remember written by Karen Tyrrell, illustrated by Aaron Pocock (Digital Future Press)
PB RRP $15.95
ISBN 978-0-98727-408-3 

Reviewed by Peta Biggin

Harry and Grandpa love to play hid-and-seek together.  However, Harry starts to notice changes in Grandpa.  He’s become grumpy, confused and forgetful – even forgetting Harry’s name.  Harry is hurt and sad but decides that he will do whatever he can to help Grandpa remember the things he’s forgotten.

Harry Helps Grandpa Remember is the latest book by Australian author Karen Tyrrell.  It is an uplifting story about the important, supportive role family can play in the lives of those suffering from Dementia.

Harry is hurt and distressed at the decline of his grandpa, feeling the loss of a friend and playmate.  However, rather than withdraw from the relationship, Harry comes up with lots of wonderful ways he can both reconnect with his grandpa and help him to reclaim his lost memories.

Harry Helps Grandpa Remember tackles a confronting topic in a positive and encouraging way.  The focus is always on what can be gained and enjoyed from such a difficult situation; activities that can easily be undertaken by most children to ensure a continued participation in their relative’s life. 

It is the little things that we sometimes take for granted – a walk through familiar surroundings, a song – that are presented here as the important tasks anyone can enjoy with a relative suffering from Dementia.  In doing these, we see Harry not only bring something back to his grandpa but also take the first steps in adjusting to what will be a constantly changing relationship. This is a very hopeful book, however there is no unrealistic happily-ever-after on offer.  Grandpa does not recover; however, his recollection of Harry’s name is celebrated as the blessing it is.

Aaron Pocock’s illustrations are fun and energetic.  With lots of colour and detail, they are a beautiful accompaniment – reflecting the optimism and positivity of the story.

Karen Tyrrell is an Australian author of both adult and children’s books.  Her books for adults include Me and Her: A Memoir of Madness and Me and Him: A Guide to Recovery about her own battles with mental illness.  Her children’s books include Bailey Beats the Blah (a coping skills picture book) and STOP the Bully (a bully prevention mid-grade novel).  She can be found online at

Aaron Pocock is an English artist/illustrator who is based in Brisbane.  He illustrates children’s books, book cover, CD sleeves and almost anything else.  He also works in a find art capacity producing watercolour, acrylic and oil paintings.  In 2011 he was chosen to illustrate the Australia Post stamp set ‘Mythical Creatures’ (for Children’s Book Week).  He can be found online at


  1. Hi Peta,
    Thanks so much for your detailed and generous Review of Harry Helps Grandpa Remember. I'm thrilled you "get" my story. I'm looking forward to seeing this Review on Di 's personal blog page on June 24 as part of my Blog Tour.... Cheers, Karen :)

  2. Thanks Peta and Di,
    for this fabulous 5 STAR Review of Harry Helps Grandpa Remember.
    I LOVE every single word.
    You can download FREE teacher resources including puppets and thinking skills at
    Many Thanks,
    Karen Tyrrell :)


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