Why Not Now?

26 January 2023

Why Not Now?
by Denise Leduc, Illustrated by Karin Sköld
Published by Lilac Arch Press
Review by Shelley A. Leedahl
$17.99 ISBN 9781778286933

I experienced quite the shock when I began Denise Leduc’s new book, Why Not Now? I’d recently reviewed the Aylesbury, Saskatchewan writer’s thoughtful children’s books—Poppies, Poppies Everywhere! and Letting Charlie Bow Go—and assumed this newest softcover was also for young readers. I dived right in—without reading the back cover text—and a glance at the large, well-spaced font also supported my notion that I was about to read a junior novel. Thus, the book’s first paragraph gave me a jolt: “Arriving at the Vancouver airport, Frank felt reinvigorated … He was glad his son, John, had insisted on coming.” What the …? I flipped to the back cover. Surprise!

Leduc had me laughing at the genre-flip and my own presumption; Why Not Now? is a hi-lo (high interest/low reading level) book for older readers, ie: seniors with dementia. It’s also part of a series of hi-lo titles described as “heartwarming tales … especially crafted for people experiencing cognitive impairment.” With Sköld’s soft and uncluttered wildlife (bear, eagle), landscape and activity-based illustrations appearing between each of the short chapters; an engaging, intergenerational family story starring the grandfather, Frank; and a handful of discussion questions following each of the ten easy-to-read chapters, Leduc has penned yet another success.

As we age and have less years ahead of us than behind, it’s natural to lose our sense of adventure. Fear and health issues are among the inhibiting culprits—even good old-fashioned common sense often prevents us from living our final years to their fullest. In Leduc’s story, Frank wonders what his life might have been like had he taken more risks. He’s now travelled to the west coast with his son, John, who “insisted” he come along to visit Frank’s cherished grandson, Max—who “reminded [Frank] of his younger self and what might have been”—and to “witness the life [Max] had created.”

Frank had not seen Max for years. Now a grown man with a fiancée and a career as a helicopter pilot “out here in the mountains,” Max is elated to host his dad and grandpa for ten days, and tells “Gramps” that the trip is “all about you.”

The author’s discussion questions arise from the story and include both specific and general questions, ie: “What is the prettiest place you have lived or visited?” and “Do you like eating fish? If so, what kinds?” I imagine this story working extremely well in both group settings and in one-on-one sharing.

I highly suggest you read this heartwarming and realistic tale to learn about the major adventure that begins Frank’s visit—he surprises himself and everyone else, and could even be on his way to becoming a “Youtube sensation.” I will say that Max is seriously impressed with his grandfather’s spontaneous escapade. “‘Gramps, you are the coolest guy I know,’” Max says.

Will another adventure follow tomorrow? Will that little voice inside Frank repeat those three important, titular words? Leduc shows us that aging can be an amazing adventure.


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