In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two young girls and a younger boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tonsils & teeth

where's Goldbug?
Dear Annie,

Richard Scarry: such a mix of irritating and fascinating.  Cars and Trucks and Things That Go was a huge favorite in our house, because of the Waldo-esque search for Goldbug on every page.  Great visuals.

Lest we leave our readers worrying that Dr. Lion is the only option for the quarter-million (according to this book) children a year who get their tonsils out, here's
Good-Bye Tonsils
, by Juliana Lee Hatkoff and her father, Craig Hatkoff. It's the story of Juliana getting her tonsils out, starting with a series of bad sore throats.  This is definitely a 21st century approach to pediatrics: the doctor explains all about tonsils, Juliana talks with a friend who's had three operations, they play with face masks to get used to the idea of the surgical team, we see a drawing of her ankle bracelet, her nightgown has elephants on it, and the nurse takes a Polaroid of Juliana, her stuffed rabbit and her parents before the operation.  They give her red liquid to drink "that would make me feel good, and I might even feel a little silly."
Around 8:30 A.M. I was feeling very relaxed, and the nurse told my mommy to hold on to me tightly so I wouldn't slip or fall.  My mommy and daddy put on special gowns and these funny paper slippers.  Then my mommy carried me into the operating room.  I was very sleepy.  ... The anesthesiologist showed me the magic mask that was made of clear plastic and told me that I should breathe deeply as she put the magic mask over my mouth.  My mommy and daddy each kissed me and told me how much they loved me.
That's mom on the left.  Next thing you know, Juliana's waking up in the recovery room with mommy.  I assume mom and dad got kicked out for the operation.  Ice cream follows, of course, although she still has a sore throat for several days.  She goes home at 12:30 pm.

Earlier in Tonsils, Juliana reads two of the classic entries in the getting-an-operation literature: Curious George Goes to the Hospital (surgical removal of swallowed puzzle piece) and Madeline (middle-of-the-night appendectomy).  Just another reminder that kids have it better these days: Madeline is carried away in the middle of the night sans Miss Clavell or any other familiar adult.  She's in the hospital with nuns/nurses, but the first time she's visited by anyone she knows appears to be ten days after the operation

Moving on to dentistry.  Eleanor's getting a tooth drilled before she turns four!  Aack!  I was traumatized throughout my pre-flouride childhood by a dentist (family friend, no less) who never used novocaine.  I got laughing gas, which doesn't do much at all for pain.  Your mother has denied that this happened to her too, but I have vivid memories.

All the usual suspects -- Dora, Berenstain Bs, Little Critter -- have documented their visits to the dentist.  But the one I like best -- and which may be the most useful to you -- is in the sloggingly factual Usborne First Experiences series: 
Going to the Dentist
. Jake and Jessie go to the dentist.  Jessie has a regular checkup, but Jake has a cavity.

Note that we see the needle, but we don't mention it.  On the next page he gets drilled and filled (eyes closed the whole time).  Then the book goes on to keeping teeth clean.  Gives the facts.

I hope all goes well for Eleanor.



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