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Archie and the Witch's Nanny

i have got to the part of my children's book where I start to really mention dementia. The book is aimed at 7-10 year olds, a chapter book. I want them to start to understand dementia and not be frightened. What do you think, is it sensitive enough? This chapter is only short, 750 words.

Chapter Five - Getting Home

Archie and Green Eye had been looking for Nanny Porshina for over an hour, with no luck. They had searched in amongst the thick seaweed, growing at the bottom of the sea; they had looked under rocks; they had peered into black holes, and they had asked every fish that swam past them if they’d seen her. The dolphins had been extremely helpful, ferrying them around on their backs, but now they were exhausted. Bottle, who was the eldest, said it was time for them to go home. Green Eye asked Bottle if they could do one last favour, take them back to Mr Clippers house. Archie now felt tearful, he just wanted to get home.

As they approached Mr Clippers house, they couldn’t believe their eyes! Nanny Porshina was sitting having tea with Mrs Clipper, they seemed to be swapping cake recipes! Archie felt his blood boil. How dare she leave them and frighten them like that! He was so angry he couldn’t stop himself blurting out, ‘Nanny, don’t you think it was selfish of you leaving us without saying where you were going? We have been very worried; we’ve been looking for you everywhere?’ Nanny Porshina looked bewildered and said crossly, ‘And who might you be?’ Green Eye took her hand and said ‘Nanny it’s Green Eye and Archie, don’t you remember? ‘Nanny got even more cross and shouted angrily LEAVE ME ALONE! I don’t know who you are’. Archie had never seen Nanny Porshina this way, and he wanted to cry.

Mr Clipper appeared, Archie saw his pincers moving frantically back and forth.  Green Eye noticed Archie looked afraid, he said, ‘Don’t get upset Archie, this is all part of the illness I was telling you about called Dementia. She doesn’t mean it, it’s her brain playing tricks’.   Gently Green Eye placed his paws around her face and stared into her eyes, ‘It’s me Nanny, Green Eye’. After a moment she seemed to calm down and recognised him. Mr Clipper smiled a knowing smile at Green Eye, he said, ‘Well done Green Eye, you are learning how to handle her illness.’ Mrs Clipper wiped a tear from her eyes and fondly looked over at her husband.

 Nanny didn’t seem to notice any of this. She then said in a very matter-of-fact way, ‘Green Eye, Archie, where have you been, you naughty boys. It’s no time to play hide and seek, we have got to get home’. Archie felt so confused, she seemed like two different people. One was kind and caring, the other was cross and angry, it frightened him. He realised he needed to find out more about this illness called Dementia.  Relieved that she had at last remembered who they were, he now wished she would get him back to the safety of his bedroom. They all said goodbye to the Clipper family, and as quickly as it had all started, the adventure finished.

 The sea swirled, and once again the fish became his wardrobe, his chest of drawers and his bed.  He was now home in is pyjamas and the book lay safely tucked away underneath him. He thought maybe he’d been dreaming, but he could see his wet swimming trunks hanging on the radiator. He wanted to speak with Green Eye, he wanted to find out more about Nanny’s illness, but that would have to wait until their next meeting. He shivered at the thought of how angry she had become; it seemed so unfair of her brain playing these unkind tricks.

Archie started to wonder if he should still go ahead with his trip to Macdonald’s for tea. Maybe he should ask Ruby what she thought? He then remembered the way the fish had lovingly greeted her, and how concerned she had been about the baby octopuses. Maybe a lapse of memory from time to time really wasn’t anything to be afraid of. Deep down she was still a kind lady, full of fun. Yes, he would still take her, she deserved a treat. His tummy rumbled, he loved MacDonald’s, especially the cheeseburgers with BBQ sauce and the strawberry milk shakes. He knew Green Eye would love them too.

He snuggled under his duvet, enjoying the feeling of being safely back in all that was familiar. As he pictured his juicy cheeseburger, a voice from under the bed said in a soft whisper, ‘Good night Archie, sleep well. Thank you for all your help.’  Archie replied, ‘Goodnight Nanny Porshina.’ Smiling, he closed his eyes and dropped into a deep, deep sleep.

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  • My mother had it and she asked over and over "Has the cat been fed?" She ended up the fattest cat around.

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    • Funnily enough Rob the trip to Macdonalds ends up with Nanny ordering loads of burgers because she can’t remember ordering them! Glad you seem to like it.

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