The Bottom Line
- Medically accurate information about food allergies.
- Simple, age-appropriate language for young children.
- Appealing characters that act as positive role models for children with food allergies.
- Illustrations are unsophisticated.
- The three books cover peanut, tree nut, and milk allergies, but not other foods.
- Suitable for 2 - 8 year olds.
- Allergic Child Publishing Group, LLC
- $11.95/paperback, $14.95/hardcover
Guide Review - Three Food Allergy Picture Books by Nicole Smith
"These are good books. I think they’re good because I’m allergic to these nuts too. Elephants love peanuts but she can’t eat peanuts and the chipmunk can’t eat nuts and the cow can’t eat milk. That’s funny! She should write a book about a bee who is allergic to stings!
-- Genevieve, age 6
Nicole Smith is the mother of a child with severe food allergies, and author of AllergicChild.com. She has written three books for young children with food allergies. They are:
- Allie the Allergic Elephant: A Children's Story of Peanut Allergies (2002),
- Cody the Allergic Cow: A Children's Story of Milk Allergies (2004), and
- Chad the Allergic Chipmunk: A Children's Story of Nut Allergies (2006).
Targeted to young children with food allergies, all three books feature appealing animal characters and medically accurate information about food allergies.
In simple, age-appropriate language, the three books each cover symptoms of food allergies, sources of hidden allergens, the importance of carrying a epinephrine kit and of wearing a medical ID bracelet. Each book covers food-specific techniques for avoiding allergens at school and on the go. The books reassure children that they are not to blame for their allergies, and that they are special and loved.
The illustrations in the three books feature appealing characters but are technically unsophisticated. Maggie Nichols, the illustrator for all three books, was a high-school student at the time that she illustrated "Allie the Allergic Elephant" and "Cody the Allergic Cow." She completed "Chad the Allergic Chipmunk" while in art school, and the drawings of Chad are more complex and fully realized than in the first two books.
Children need to see themselves reflected in the books they read (or have read to them.) Nicole Smith's books present the reality of life for a young child with severe food allergies in a manner that is matter-of-fact, yet also reassuring and positive. For example:
Some people ask Chad, "How can you live without eating nuts?
"Very easily," Chad tells them, "there are so many other good things to eat!"-- from "Chad the Allergic Chipmunk" by Nicole Smith
Chad remains upbeat while eating at his special nut-free lunch table, and is proud that he has learned how to teach adults how to use his epinephrine auto-injector. Children with food allergies that read about his adventures can feel that they are not alone, that their allergies are manageable, and that they can take pride in keeping themselves safe.