No one likes feeling ill, having to visit a doctor or stay in hospital, so this collection of funny, informative poems is like medicine for the reluctant patient. From the cosiness of your bed when you are sick, to parents’ care and humour when a little person in is hospital, Latvian poet Zandere gently deals with all aspects of being poorly. Reimagined by Cullen, medical procedures are deconstructed and simplified so that worries and fears can be seen from a child’s point of view.
A thermometer is an imp that slides up and down a glass tree, syringes and drips are polite monocled characters that just want to deliver medicine and fluids quickly, while germs run away fearfully from medication – all anthropomorphically illustrated in Petersons’ energetic bold style. Blood analysis and ultrasound scans are explained by all-knowing characters which are bound to reassure the most nervous of patients.
The most significant poems are those that directly address the emotions that go with being ill – the unfairness of sickness, the fear of an operation and the impatience to be well. These poems give young readers an empowered vocabulary that can help them speak about illness or hospital visits from themselves or others. Light, fun and necessary.