Review Detail

Allergic Featured
Kids Fiction 223
Who doesn't want a dog?
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Maggie has always wanted a dog. Her younger brothers Liam and Noah have each other, and her parents are expecting another baby, so she wants something that is just hers. The family goes to an animal shelter to adopt, and even finds a dog that is just perfect, but Maggie has such a bad allergic reaction that she breaks out in hives and her eyes close shut. She visits the doctor, and has to go for allergy testing, but the dog adoption is put on hold. Maggie ends up being very allergic to anything with feathers or fur, which is devastating to someone who wanted to become a vet! She investigates other animals, but none of them workout well. Luckily, there is a girls who moves in next door. Maggie's family hasn't lived in town long, and she and Claire hit it off right away even though Claire is a year older and in 6th grade. They spend lots of time together, usually at Claire's house, since she is an only child and her father is fairly indulgent with activities, such as making cupcakes or pillow forts, activities that would be too chaotic in Maggie's already busy house. When Claire gets a dog, however, Maggie is angry and refuses to speak to Claire. She ends up being befriended by a boy at school who has food allergies, which helps Maggie deal with her own allergies. The girls make up, and Claire helps Maggie sneak a mouse into her room. Maggie is allergic even to the tiny mouse, and when it has babies, that makes matters even worse. She has asked for a lock for her door, and so goes undetected for a while, but eventually her brothers rat her out. Her parents, already stressed by the rapidly approaching due date for their baby, take the mouse back to the pet shop. Will Maggie be able to make her peace with her new sister and find a new interest in life?
Good Points
This was very well done and will be hugely popular with fans of Raina Telgemeier's similarly anxious graphic novels. 5th grade is definitely a year when many students pine for pets (my daughter was in 6th grade when we adopted our dog Sylvie), and readers will sympathize with Maggie's disappointment. There are a few students every year who end up with baby siblings, so that was good to see as well. Friend drama is always popular, and Claire and Maggie's relationship was well drawn. There was an especially touching scene with Maggie and one of her young brothers. Definitely purchasing one, if not two, copies!

Maggie's grandmother, with her gray bun, dresses, round figure, and shawl like collars, looked a lot like MY own grandmother-- who would be 127 if she were alive today. She's super cozy looking, but probably doesn't look like most grandmothers of middle grade readers. I liked the fact that Maggie was darker skinned than her father, but would have been glad to have a more concrete ethnic heritage cited.

There are not a lot of middle grade books dealing with allergies, and I would love to see more. I love that there is a depiction of an EpiPen. This is definitely something we see a lot in the student population, and including an asthma diagnosis would not go amiss! (I've had cross country runners violently allergic to contact with grass. That was interesting!) Looking forward to anything that these two artists do in the future.
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