Cover image for The sunsets of Miss Olivia Wiggins
The sunsets of Miss Olivia Wiggins
Laminack, Lester L., 1956-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Atlanta, Ga. : Peachtree, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations : 24 x 28 cm
Even though Miss Olivia seems unaware of the world around her, when her daughter and her great-grandson come to the nursing home to visit, they awaken happy memories of her past.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.8 0.5 51041.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ7.L1815 SU 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This poignant tale tells of a woman residing in a nursing home who seems to live in a world of memories.
Although Miss Olivia is unable to respond and doesn?t always seem to notice her family, her daughter Angel and grandson Troy know better. Anything from a beautiful sunset to the mention of her porch swing can take her back into her past, from when she was just a little girl out on the farm with her papa or back to a recent birthday shared with her daughter. She can no longer do the things she used to do, but she?s still their Momma Olivia.
Laminack treats a difficult topic with great care, giving voice to the seldom discussed tragedy of watching a loved one slip into the past in terms children can understand. Bergum?s delicate watercolors also give soft expression to the love that holds a family together during times of hardship.

Author Notes

LESTER L. LAMINACK is the author of Jake's 100th Day of School, Saturdays and Teacakes, The Sunsets Of Miss Olivia Wiggins, and Trevor's Wiggly-Wobbly Tooth. He is a specialist in children's literacy and professor emeritus from Western Carolina University. Laminack has written numerous books and articles for educators and is a familiar speaker at professional meetings and reading associations nationwide. He lives in Sylva, North Carolina.

CONSTANCE R. BERGUM has illustrated nine children's books, including Daniel and His Walking Stick and The Sunsets of Miss Olivia Wiggins. She holds an MFA in illustration from Marywood University. Bergum lives in Helena, Montana.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-9. When her daughter, Angel, and her great-grandson Troy come to visit her in a nursing home, Miss Olivia Wiggins doesn't appear to notice their presence: "She just [sits] there, staring straight ahead, at nothing and at everything." But small things they say and do bring back memories for her. As Troy hums a little tune by her chair, she remembers holding her babies and singing to them, and the smell of the lilacs he has brought her reminds her of a special, long-ago spring day with the man she would marry. Although Troy finds it somewhat puzzling that his great-grandmother doesn't seem the same, he can tell that his visits bring her joy. Realistic watercolors flow gently between present and past in this tender depiction of a life well lived, which speaks to the value of maintaining loving relationships, even when they are altered by Alzheimer's disease. --Susan Dove Lempke

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3ÄWhen her daughter and great-grandson visit Miss Olivia Wiggins in a nursing home, their words and actions cause the woman to remember significant moments in her life. A repeated phrase, "She didn't move, she didn't even blink, but slowly, quietly she began to think..." signals the change from the present to the past. These remembrances, which occur on every other page, are printed in italics. Through this story, readers will be reassured that older people can have a full inner life and will understand the importance of visiting them. With the growing number of elderly requiring full-time care, this book could fulfill a need. However, its appeal to youngsters is doubtful. Unlike Mem Fox's Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge (Kane/Miller, 1985), which addresses a similar subject, the story here is told from an adult perspective. The sun-dappled watercolor illustrations work with the text to present a sanitized, loving tribute to one woman's life. They do try to create a child-oriented connection between the past and the present by including a toy horse in many of the scenes and yet it's not enough. The overall focus of this title remains on the adult with little to engage youngsters.ÄMartha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.