Published by Egmont Books (now Farshore), 2021.
The Forgettery is a poignant and charming picture book about a young girl called Amelia and her granny. Granny has become very forgetful.
Sometimes she forgot little things. Like where she’d put the marmalade or which drawer she kept her socks in. Sometimes she forgot important things like special memories and moments.
We discover that Amelia forgets things too – in her case it’s because she daydreams – but I love how this important link between the two of them is established right away.
The story begins with Amelia and Granny going for a walk in the woods. They are so busy exploring that they forget to go home for dinner. Soon they stumble across The Forgettery. It’s a wonderful, magical place. It’s a huge tree with lots of tiny windows in different shapes and styles. Fairy lights are strung in the branches, and there’s a staircase leading to a door which takes you inside. Once inside we discover that it’s a place where you can find anything you have ever forgotten – from lost keys or soft toys to precious memories. It’s staffed by Memory Keepers who look after the forgotten memories. Anyone who visits will find their own individual Forgettery, which is a room within the tree itself. Inside your Forgettery are objects from your past, along with forgotten memories which flutter around the room like butterflies.
I love how Granny gets to fill a glass jar with her favourite memories, put a cork stopper in to keep them safe and then take them home with her. Amelia and Granny also visit Amelia’s Forgettery where the box that’s full to the brim with forgotten please and thank yous made us giggle.
As they leave The Forgettery, the Memory Keeper gives Amelia a letter, as well as a map of how to get home (because she and Granny have forgotten). The letter offers memory making advice and I think it’s a really nice touch at the end of the story when we see Amelia making a memory book for Granny. She includes photos relating to the memories in Granny’s memory jar as well as photos of all the new memories she and Granny make together.
We love the book’s gorgeous illustrations which are packed with so much wonderful detail. Sam and I pore over each page, noticing new things each time. Sam’s favourite parts of the book are the helter skelter slides inside the Forgettery which Granny and Amelia, as well as forgotten objects, whoosh down. I love the depiction of all the lost memories – precious snapshots of a life lived. I also enjoy looking at all the objects from Granny’s past, in particular the fashions from previous decades. The dodo who assists the Memory Keepers is a lovely detail too.
The book can easily be read simply as a delightful adventure story, or it can help open up and support conversations about dementia and memory loss. My 104-year-old Gran (Sam’s great granny) has dementia and so The Forgettery really resonated with us; Sam has found it hard to understand why Great Granny can’t remember him anymore. Books like this which sensitively tackle the subject are very important.
Suitable for children aged 4+
Thank you to Farshore for sending me this book to review.