Where Is Grandma?
A search for a boy’s grandmother in a large metropolitan hospital provides a startlingly honest look at the lives of sick people. When Henry and his Kurdish nanny, Gulsa, arrive at the hospital to visit Henry’s grandmother, Gulsa gets a phone call and Henry wanders into the hospital alone. He encounters many patients, including a man with a close-fitting cap (“Chemo,” he tells Henry. “It’s when you get cancer.... It makes you vomit.... But if it works, it kills the bad cells and you get better”); a woman with dementia; and a friend from school. “I’ve got a bean up my nose, but don’t ask me how it got there!” she tells him. German artist Schössow’s account can be long-winded yet stays respectful and intelligent, and Spencer deals ably with humor and colloquialisms. Outlined in thick blue, the comics-style figures stand as still as chess pieces, as if posing. In the end, a kindhearted guard rescues Henry, though his grandmother scolds him for wandering away. It’s not the usual child-enters-hospital comfort book; it’s more a child’s-eye view of the mystery of ill health itself. Ages 5–8. (Aug.)