Allergic GN
Publisher: Scholastic/Graphix
Release Date: March 2, 2021
Price: $24.99 (HC) / $12.99 (TP)
Creator(s): Megan Wagner Lloyd (writer); Michelle Mee Nutter (artist)
Format: 240 pgs., Full-Color, 5.5" x 8", Hardcover/Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-3385-6891-2 (HC) / 978-1-3385-6890-5 (TP)
Age Rating: 8-12
ICv2 Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

This was a brilliant story about a child wondering if she was still going to be loved the same way as the family grew, but who was also one feeling especially down because her hopes of having a pet had been dashed by her allergies.  Clearly, though, her parents and her doctor hadn’t gotten through to her about the seriousness of the allergy treatment phase, its duration and possible outcomes.  For the parents, there is the excuse of a pending new baby, but for the doctor, the failure has no clear excuse.  Within the story, poor Maggie is left to depend on denial as a defense, which rarely works in medicine.

The artwork was a treat, especially in the sequences where different pets are considered.  The focus on Maggie’s two new friendships was very believable, and her finding a friend who also had serious allergies was touching.  The back cover illustration was delightful, although cuddly tortoises just don’t come along very often.

The story has a delightful epilogue, paying off both the main story lines and showing how things develop over time in the family when things aren’t going horribly wrong.  This is a story that belongs on shelves in school and public libraries, but also a lot of kids facing the arrival of new family members and/or treatment of medical conditions would get a lot out of this story.

This almost received a five-star rating, but one of the subplots didn’t quite ring true.  The author gave the parents a good set of excuses for being distracted, but the whole "mouse" segment just wasn’t as good as the rest, or as convincing.  If nothing else, it’s hard to keep a rodent exercise wheel from making noise when it’s used… although, yes, pet stores have been known to sell pregnant mice to kids.  The mouse artwork was outstanding, though, which helped that part of the story.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.