In this upbeat amalgam of the imaginative and the informational, Kelley's ( Let's Eat ) humorously illustrated, jaunty tale of a girl who contracts chicken pox is accompanied by concise ``pox facts'' displayed across the bottom of every spread. When she realizes what the spots on her body mean, the child is at first elated (``Yay! . . . No school! I can stay in my pajamas all week !''). But the following day, when she comes down with a fever and a sore throat, she is far less sanguine. As the days pass, the impatient patient misses her classmates--and even tires of TV and Jell-O (``I'm not sick of ice cream and ginger ale, though''). Like the hero of Marc Brown's Arthur's Chicken Pox (reviewed below), this pox victim has a sibling torturer: her brother proclaims her first spot ``a cootie bite'' and messily devours a piece of chocolate fudge cake in front of her; however, he isn't altogether disdainful and pays her a dime to breathe on him. Kelley offers as entertaining a story line as does Brown, and the factual details she provides make this book a better choice for a youngster feeling apprehensive about chicken pox. Both books, however, will reassure--and bring on smiles. Ages 4-7. (May)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Although the young narrator is excited at first about staying home from school, drinking ginger ale, and eating ice cream, the novelty of chicken pox soon wears off. The itchy spots are barely tolerable and she is bored. But at the end of the week she is able to go back to school, a semi-celebrity, where she recounts the highlights of her experience to her friends. The story is competently written in a casual, conversational style, sprinkled with kidicisms such as ``yuck'' and ``gross.'' However, the ``Pox Facts,'' tidbits of information that line the bottom of each spread, are intended for older readers or adults. Kelley's cartoon-style line drawings, washed in watercolors, are vibrant and appealing and have interesting details. The borders on each page reflect the progression of the disease-benign at the beginning and end of the book, but filled with ever-larger, then diminishing spots throughout the middle. More informative and geared toward a slightly older audience than Shen Roddie's Chicken Pox (Little, 1993), this book is likely to be picked up by parents of sufferers.-Denise L. Moll, Lone Pine Elementary School, West Bloomfield, MI
As an introduction to chicken pox, Kelley's book is first-rate. Arthur's case of chicken pox in Brown's story is so quick and easy that other kids will wonder whether they have had the same ailment, but Jess lives through all the ups and downs: the initial headache, the discovery of the first pock, the elation of knowing that she's about to miss a week of school, the sibling reaction ""Breathe" on me! "Breathe" on me!", the sick days spent in bed, the itchy nights spent sitting in an oatmeal bath, and the antsy impatience of a bored kid who feels fine but can't go out because she "might" still be contagious. Jess tells her story through the text and large, bordered illustrations on every page. Below the pictures, Kelley runs a series of "POX FACTS" that give information about the illness and hints on how to reduce itching and prevent pockmarks. Although the borders give some pages a busy look, this brightly illustrated picture book will appeal to children, amusing and informing them in equal measure.