Abby loves her family's visits to Grandpa Morris and Gram Elsie's summer house. Staying there has always meant extra fun and a special closeness with her grandparents. This summer, though, Gram Elsie doesn't seem to be herself. She tires easily, even when she and Abby are enjoying work on Gram and Grandpa's big Alice in Wonderland party. Abby's afraid something's wrong with Gram Elsie. If she's right, Abby's world may become as topsy-turvy as Alice's...
Abby, Anna, and their mom are headed out to the Hamptons for a vacation with Gram Elsie and Grandpa Morris, Mrs, Stevenson's parents. They throw themselves a big anniversary party every year, and this year, the theme is "Alice in Wonderland." Abby is really excited about hanging out on the beach, seeing her grandparents, and helping them get ready for their party.
She's also got Kristy coming up for a visit for a week. Right away, though, Abby notices that something isn't right with her grandparents. Grandpa Morris insists on going with Gram Elsie to some appointment she has in town , and then Abby overhears Gram on the phone, confirming that she's going to having something checked out.
After that, Abby watches her grandmother much more closely, but no more clues about what might be wrong come to the surface. Then, Gran Elsie sends Abby into the house to get a copy of the party menu. When Abby's looking for it, she finds all sorts of information about breast cancer...and the likely answer to what's wrong with Gram Elsie.
People have started RSVPing for the party, and Gram Elsie has been disappointed with how many aren't coming. Abby decides to give her grandmother a treat, and she starts surreptitiously calling people who've said no and trying to convince them to come. She also decides she needs to find out more about breast cancer, so she heads to the library the first chance she gets. Abby finds quite a bit of scary information, but also lots of information that's encouraging.
The comfort that she got from being informed kind of goes out the window when she sees Gram Elsie again. Reading articles and books and statistics is one thing; it's a totally different ball game when it's someone you know.
When Gram goes upstairs for a nap, Abby tries to get Grandpa Morris to tell her what's wrong with her grandmother. All she can get out of him is that planning the party is taking a lot out of Elsie.The day of the party arrives, finally. Everything is going well, and many of the guests that had said they weren't coming show up, thanks to Abby.
Then, Gram Elsie and Grandpa Morris give a very touching speech about how much everyone means to them, and how important family and friends are. This is too much for Abby; she runs inside the house, crying. Gram Elsie finds her, and Abby finally confesses that she knows about Gram's cancer. Gram confirms that she does have breast cancer....maybe. The appointment that Abby had heard her talking about on the phone was for a biopsy, and the results haven't come back yet. Gram lets Abby know that even if it IS cancer, she intends to fight it. The books ends without us ever knowing whether or not the lump was cancerous.
Subplot: the Pikes can't afford to go to Sea City, so the kids create their own beach vacation in their own backyard.
In Abby in Wonderland, Abby secretly discovers that her grandmother may have cancer, which makes Abby feel helpless. It’s never easy learning that a member of your family faces a serious medical problem, but as Abby found, one of the best things you can do is learn as much as possible about the illness. It also helps to be able to talk to your family to share information and feelings. One nice thing that often happens when a family member is sick is that the rest of the family pulls together to help out. When my father had open-heart surgery, my family and also our friends rallied around with support, food, advice, phone calls, and visits, all of which made my father’s recovery smoother and quicker. You don’t need to throw a big party to show your love for someone — the little things count just as much.