The Princess and the Peanut Allergyby Wendy McClure, Tammie Lyon (Illustrator)
Regina and her mom are busy preparing for her birthday party. It’s going to be a princess party with the perfect cake that looks like a castle and has ice cream cone towers. Regina is inviting all the girls in her class, including her best friend, Paula. Paula is excited, too, until she finds out about the cake. It will have nutty fudge brownies and peanut butter candies. Paula can’t eat that cakeshe can’t go anywhere near that cakebecause she has a peanut allergy. Regina really wants her cake, and she and Paula fight about it. That afternoon they both go home mad. But that night, after Regina reads her favorite story, "The Princess and the Pea," she thinks more about her friend and the cake. The next morning she has a great plan that will please everyone.
Regina can't wait for her birthday party, especially since she plans to have a fabulous castle cake made out of giant brownie bricks. Then her best friend tells her that she can't eat any of it because of her peanut allergy. Regina doesn't understand why Paula can't pick out the peanuts, and the two girls have a big fight, resulting in Regina uninviting her friend. The birthday girl has a change of heart after listening to the "Princess and the Pea" and decides that the cake can be made without peanuts. The story, while helpful for illuminating food allergies, is a bit pedantic, and it seems unlikely that Regina would be unaware of her best friend's allergy. The cartoonlike watercolor illustrations are attractive, but do little to elevate the unimaginative story. The book concludes with a note from a pediatric allergist. This title may be useful for teachers who happen to have students with food allergies and need a resource for other members of the class.-Beth Cuddy, Seward Elementary School, Auburn, NY
Meet the Author
Wendy McClure has been writing about her obsessions both online and in print for nearly a decade. In addition to her 2005 memoir, I’m Not the New Me, she is a columnist for BUST Magazine and has contributed to The New York Times Magazine. McClure holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Chicago, where she is senior editor at the children’s book publisher Albert Whitman & Company.
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The Princess and the Peanut Allergy is a story that talks about allergies with children. A young girl named Regina is having a princess birthday party. She wants to invite her best friend Paula. At school, Regina explains the details of her party to Paula. She explains her princess theme, playing Space Dragons, and the details of her perfect cake. As Regina explains the castle cake, brownie bricks, and ice cream cones with candy towers, Paula stops her to ask what kind of cake it is. Regina says that she is having peanut candy and peanut brownies. Paula explains to Regina that she is allergic to peanuts. She cannot have anything with peanuts in it, not even one small peanut. Regina is upset that Paula cannot eat her perfect birthday cake. The girls are angry at each other when they leave school that day. After talking to her mom at home, Regina goes to sleep and dreams about the princess and the pea. She dreams about how small the pea was and how much it bothered the princess. She decides to go to the bakery and asks the baker if she can make a perfect birthday cake without peanuts, not even one. The baker says that she can make the cake perfectly. Regina calls Paula and tells her she changed her cake for the party. Paula is very excited and enjoys the cake at Regina’s party. This story is very interesting for young children. It teaches them that allergies can be very serious. The girl in the story is considerate of her friend’s allergy and changes her party food. I would use this book in my classroom as a teacher. I would probably talk about allergies and the seriousness of them. I would talk about being considerate of people with allergies and not joking with them about their allergies. If I were to do an activity in my classroom with this book I would explain to my students that we may have food allergies in the classroom and we should make signs for those allergies. I could have the children make signs that say “no peanut butter, no peanuts, no chocolate, etc.” Whatever the allergy is, I can have the children make signs saying what they cannot have in the classroom. This way, children are more aware of the allergies in the classroom and they understand what they can and cannot have.
This book teaches children to be considerate of others who are different. The vided pictures and the story line kept my students engaged the whole time. They were even able to connect with the story because one of our classmates has a peanut allergy. This book is now one of our favorites and we've read it several times!