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.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Wheezles and sneezles

Dear Annie,

A dad asked the other day for a picture book to read to a sick child about being sick.  Specifically, she had a stomach flu and he wanted a book about tummy aches.  As you know, I love odd requests that force me to rummage through infrequently visited corners of my brain, but the tummy ache brought me up short on this one.

The subject of illness in books seems appropriate this weekend, though, because (as regular readers may have guessed) you've been both sick and hosting Eleanor's birthday festivities.  I hope you're feeling better.  I have no stomach ailment books to offer, but given the season, here's a sampling of colds.  The main take-away in cold books is that they're eased by friendship -- and they're contagious.

Bear was sick, very very sick.
His eyes were red.  His snout was red.
His throat was sore and gruffly.
In fact, Bear was quite sure no one
had ever been as sick as he.

So starts  
The Sniffles for Bear
by Bonnie Becker -- the latest in her quite good Mouse and Bear books.  Mouse is aggressively cheerful and friendly; Bear is glum and stand-offish.  In this one, Bear dramatizes his cold into being reason to write up a will, and Mouse's glee at being in line to inherit roller skates hastens the process of Bear's recovery.  Mouse then ends up with the cold.

Pigs Make Me Sneeze!
our pal Gerald of the Elephant and Piggie series lets loose a series of sneezes that send pig flying in various directions (she eventually appears on-page with a helmet).  He surmises that he must be allergic to pigs and bids her a sneezy sad farewell.  A feline doctor eventually sets him straight, and he galumphs back to his pal: "Piggie! Piggie! Great news! I HAVE A COLD!"  Which, of course, Piggie has already caught.

We've talked about
A Sick Day for Amos McGee
by Philip Stead when it won the Caldecott Medal last year.  It's the lovely and gentle story of a zookeeper's animals taking the bus to come see him when he's home sick with a cold. They all understand they have to let him take naps, and they play gently with him.
"I'm too tired to run races today," said Amos to the tortoise.  "Let's play hide-and-seek instead."  
The tortoise hid inside his shell.
Amos hid beneath the covers.
The animals all spend the night, and there's a plan for all to head back to the zoo in the morning.

No list of friendship through adversity could be complete without good old Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel.  An excerpt from
Frog and Toad are Friends
One day in summer Frog was not feeling well.
Toad said, "Frog, you are looking quite green."
"But I always look green," said Frog.  "I am a frog."
"Today you look very green even for a frog," said Toad.
"Get into my bed and rest."
So I hope you've been resting up, dear Annie, and are getting better soon.




  1. I wrote about this very topic here: No tummy aches, just colds.

    Get well soon, Annie!