Friday, May 15, 2009

Children's books about doctor visits

This week is Food Allergy Awareness Week, and how serendipitous that we were able to get squeezed into a last minute cancellation for an allergy appointment today.  The news wasn't really what we had hoped to hear; it appears our little man is allergic to: wheat, egg, milk, nuts (four different kinds), and sesame.  Holy cow!  He might outgrow some of them (he better!), but for now, that's what we're working with.  On a bright note, his beloved french fries and watermelon are safe.  Expect some allergy-related children's book reviews in the near future, but for now, I thought I'd review these books we have on doctor visits.  I took them out of the library to prep our son for his next round of vaccinations.  I don't expect to eliminate crying altogether, but I'm hoping we can at least delay the wailing until the actual vaccination (it currently starts at the stethoscope!).  

Caillou: The Doctor (Little Dipper) (Board book), by Joceline Sanschagrin. I had never heard of Caillou when I picked up this board book (what can I say? We don't have a TV). I was looking for board books on this topic, so I chose this one online site unseen. The bright, cheerful illustrations drew us in instantly. The story follows the young boy as he gets sick with a cold and goes to the doctor for treatment.


"Caillou is sick. He has a fever and is coughing. Mommy takes good care of Caillou. She brings him lots of juice and rubs his back. 'Hold me tight, Mommy,' says Caillou."

Bookworm's interest at 18 months: We didn't quite make it through the whole thing, but he was definitely interested. In fact, he fake-coughed when Caillou was coughing!

Say "Ahhh!": Dora Goes to the Doctor (Paperback), by Phoebe Beinstein. This cute Dora book has a nice amount of detail for a slightly older child than ours. I like the explanatory text (comparing the tongue depressor to a "frozen ice-pop stick" for instance). The book also has fun ways to engage the reader throughout the storyline, such as: "The next tool Dr. Lopez needs is a little hammer to test my reflexes. Do you see something that looks like a little hammer?" A great book for Dora fans that need to be made a little more comfortable with the whole doctor visit experience.


"Dr. Lopez asks me to open my mouth wide and make an 'ahhh' sound so she can look at my throat. Make an 'ahhh' sound with me. Say 'Ahhh!'

Bookworm's interest at 18 months: He didn't make it very far when I first tried it. He has no idea who Dora is, though, and the text is geared for an older child (age 3-7).

A Trip to the Doctor (DK READERS) (Hardcover), by Deborah Lock. This book from DK Publishing, geared toward those just starting to read, pairs actual photographs with text about a boy's check-up appointment. The explanatory text includes phonetic pronunciation guides for some of the longer words.


"The nurse said, 'Now I'll check how well your heart is pumping blood through your body.' / She put a cuff on Jame's arm. 'It's like a small balloon,' she said. It became tighter and tighter as it filled with air."

Bookworm's interest at 18 months: He enjoyed the photos. The text is a bit advanced for him.

Clifford Visits The Hospital (Paperback), by Norman Bridwell. This book features a visit to the hospital to see an ailing Grandma, and the mischievous antics of Clifford (the lovable red dog). From tasting Grandma's medicine, to knocking over a cart of hospital food, to a romp through the newborn nursery, Clifford makes the rounds. This is less suitable for children needing to understand their routine check-ups than for those in the hospital to visit family members.


"The nurse had to give Grandma a shot. That's when Clifford decided to leave. He hates needles."

Bookworm's interest at 18 months: He's not a big Clifford fan (yet?), and this didn't really hold his attention much, but I'm going to try it another day. I think he might enjoy it if I make a big effort to explain what's going on more.

Have other books about the doctor's office that your kids enjoy? Or any other tips for calming vaccination jitters? We'd love to hear about them!


Sara said...

We did the same thing for our boy, now 21 months, (who began wailing first thing with the nurse measuring his head and length) and really liked My Friend, The Doctor by Joanna Cole. There's also the Berenstein Bears, too. Both of them deal with regular checkups, not sick kids, which is what I wanted.

Does he like these books? Yes - frequently requests them, pulls them off the shelf.

Did it help? Not so much, although now he at least makes it to the stethoscope...

MaryAnne said...

My daughter loves the book Doctor (Tools We Use) by Dana Meachan Rau. My son hates the doctor, he gets upset as soon as we leave the waiting area.

I'm curious to hear more about your allergy experience since we may be headed in the allergy testing direction too (unfortunately). I've held off so far because there's so much drama over a simple thing like getting weighed...

Britt said...

Ugh, Caillou.

Love the Berenstein ones! Doctor and Dentist both. My preschooler LOVES both, though! And my toddler doesn't mind the dr. even when he had to have allergy testing done. Just don't try to lay him on the paper-covered exam table!

Simone said...

I need to start reading some doctor/dentist books to ease my kids' fears - thanks for the suggested titles.
As for food almost 3 year old son is also allergic to eggs, nuts, and sesame. I have only read one food allergy book - Allie the Allergic Elephant - my son didn't love it, but the message was certainly there about not eating nuts.

Infant Bibliophile said...

Simone, I've heard of that Allie book too. We'll have to check it out. My son doesn't really talk yet, but if he sees a nut in a book, he says "nuh nuh" and I say, "that's right, no nuts." lol, never too early to start I guess. It's hard because you don't want them to live in fear, but of course they have to learn to be careful. Sorry to hear about your son's allergies.

Britt, this week when we went to the allergist, I laid my son on the paper covered table for a diaper change, and he thought the sound of the paper on his hands was hilarious! go figure!

Mary Ann, I'll check out the Tools We Use book! Thanks. I'm thinking about starting a food allergy blog, but I'm trying to fight the urge. I tried a quilting blog and I couldn't keep up with it at all. Plus we're moving this month. But I would like a place to muse about allergies, recipes, doctor appointments, etc.

Sara, Thank you for the book suggestion -- we'll check that title out too! I agree, it probably won't help with the fear. But at least we tried.

Britt said...

You know, I don't think it's actually the paper that bothers him, but at 7-8 months he was struggling while I changed his diaper on one and almost fell off. He's never forgotten. He freaks out.
We get to go retest at some point. Yippee.