Author: Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter
Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
Published: 1st August 2021
- A new graphic novel aimed at middle-grade readers.
- Gives children a better understanding of allergic reactions.
- With illustrations by Michelle Mee Nutter, Megan Wagner Lloyd draws on her own childhood to tell a heartfelt story of family, friendship and finding a place to belong.
A semi-autobiographical coming-of-age graphic novel featuring a girl with severe allergies who just wants to find the perfect pet.
All Maggie really wants is a puppy and … achoo! At home, Maggie is the odd one out. Her parents are preoccupied with getting ready for a new baby, and her younger brothers are twins and always in their own world. Maggie loves animals and thinks a new puppy to call her own wis the answer, but when she goes to select one on her birthday, she breaks out in hives and rashes. She’s severely allergic to anything covered in fur!
Can Maggie outsmart her allergies and find the perfect pet?
Maggie has always wanted a puppy – and on her tenth birthday, she’s allowed to go and choose one. But while she’s at the pet store, she starts breaking out in hives – and allergy tests show she is allergic to furry animals. She’s lost and alone and feels like it is all her fault. Then she must start a new school, where she feels even more alone when her allergies mean changes in the classroom. Then she meets Claire, a new student and makes friends with a boy in her year with allergies, starts allergy shots and finds herself feeling more and more alone as she overhears conversations about the lack of a puppy. So, she tries to come up with a plan – with Claire’s hep – to find a pet that will work. But she’ll stumble at times and find that even the closest of friendships can be tested – but in the end, everyone will come together and find a way to make allergies, friends, family, and pets work for Maggie.
Books like this are great to help kids understand allergies – for themselves, for friends, for family and for classmates, and communicates different allergies and how they affect people differently in an accessible way through words and graphics and show how different people treat their allergies – whether they must avoid the allergen and carry around an EpiPen or have allergy shots like Maggie.
Helping children to understand allergies and what they can do to help their friends is an important message to send and using a graphic novel that also uses words to show kids what can happen creates a powerful and memorable story, showing that there are solutions to everything. It’s just that sometimes, you must be a little bit creative, use lateral thinking and you’ll find ways to make your dreams come true – even if it is in a way that you do not expect it to work out or it’s not what you had hoped for.
This is a gentle, educational book that allows children to learn about allergies in safe and accessible ways – it is a wonderful way to teach children about issues that might affect those around them, and that can affect anyone.