Publication:

Manawatu Guardian - 2021-11-25

Data:

Sensitively told story of dementia

NEWS

Blimmin’ Koro By Jill Bevan-Brown Published by Oratia Books Reviewed by Jennifer Baker

Jill Bevan-Brown’s first book for children, Blimmin’ Koro ,isa wonderful book and I am delighted and honoured to have the opportunity to write about it. It’s no surprise this book was written by a former lecturer in inclusive education. It exudes the kind of warmth and awareness one would expect from a person of that occupation. It is a sensitively told story about a grandfather with dementia, and it follows the trajectory of its symptoms. It is based on the author’s own experience caring for her husband. I found myself feeling quite emotional when reading this to my 2-year-old; it is brimming with poignant moments which are genuinely moving. Blimmin’ Koro touches on some very delicate subjects linked with dementia, including the loss of control over bowel function, but the gentle humour and sensitivity of the writing ensures those topics never feel awkward or uncomfortable. What is really beautiful about this book is the relationship between the children and their grandfather. The love that Koro shows his grandchildren nurtures a bond that endures through his illness, his forgetfulness, his loss of mobility and speech. The children’s grandmother remains constant in her playful and endearing mocking of Koro (“blimmin’ Koro,” she laughs) a consistency which assists the children in adjusting to the worsening stages of his condition. The children in turn, and despite their sadness, are able to help Koro adjust, because they are taught not to be frightened by his symptoms. They help push him in his wheelchair, talk to him, hug him, and are playful with him, just as they have always been. As a parent I feel very lucky to have come across this book. As well as helping children to cope with the sadness of seeing a loved one go through dementia, it radiates love, kindness, sensitivity towards and acceptance of others, and ultimately those are the values I want to grow in my children.

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