This week for Five in a Row we read Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. Madeline is such a cultural icon now that I hope most of you know it and have read it. Madeline offers the obvious opportunity to talk about Paris and France and read other books about the location, which we did. But Madeline also introduces the idea of going to the hospital since in the book Madeline has her appendix taken out.
I have to admit I’ve never been a huge Paddington fan. Nothing wrong with him, I was just more of a Pooh-bear girl. But this looked cute and it proved to be a sweet book. Paddington is in an accident and taken in to the ER. He rides in an ambulance, is in the ER, has an X-ray, goes to the OR and stays overnight. There is lots here to talk about with a young child. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but it did bug me that medically this book is fairly inaccurate. However, I think most people would overlook that easily. David requested it several times, so he seemed to enjoy it and not be bothered by the glaring inaccuracies. (Kidding. Sort of.)
We actually did not read this book this week, but only because we’ve read it about 1000 times previously. David went through a big Curious George phase and is still fond of him. This book also gives a nice overview of different parts of a hospital that a child might encounter and uses a beloved character to make it accessible and not so scary.
Out and About at the Hospital by Nancy Garhan Attebury offers a very nice factual description of the hospital. This is a new book to me, but it’s apparently one of a series where kids in a class go on field trips (Out and About at the Bank, Supermarket, etc). It was well done and had information that my non-fiction loving 7 yr old found interesting but was presented in a simple and readable enough style that my wiggly 4 yr old didn’t get bored. Not an easy feat.
This last book by Roberta Karim is just plain silly. Filbert McFee is in the hospital and is brought a package of animal crackers. The crackers cause him to turn into various animals, typically when something is going to happen that he doesn’t like. Most of the staff is unsure of what to do with a penguin or rhino instead of a boy but not Nurse Beluga who informs him over and over that “This is a hospital, not a zoo!” The repetition is perfect for preschoolers. It’s a delightfully silly book and both boys loved it. On a more serious note, I actually thought this book probably dealt in a more subtle and somewhat sophisticated way with kids’ fears about hospitals and medical procedures than some of the others and by using humor it helped calm some of those fears. I loved that it’s not entirely clear if Filbert really turns into those animals or just pretends. And if Nurse Beluga is really just unflappable even when faced with a giraffe patient or if she is playing along t help Filbert. It doesn’t really matter. It’s a fun book.
Check out Read Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word to see what others are reading with their kids.