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Kid’s Medical Book Review: ABC Doctor: Staying Healthy from A to Z by Liz Murphy

Reading level: Ages 4-8 Hardcover: 36 pages Publisher: Blue Apple Books

ABC Doctor: Staying Healthy from A to Z by Liz Murphy is a list of doctor’s visit terminology in alphabetical order, ranging from “A is for Appointment” and “B is for Bruise” to Z is for “A Zillion times better” (which is how you feel after going to the doctor!) The collage-style illustrations are visually cheerful and engaging and there is a multicultural mix of boys and girls depicted throughout the pages (and bonus points: the book shows both male and female doctors).

While kids will no doubt find most of the vocabulary useful (ex: O is for Otoscope, S is for Stethoscope, etc.), a few of the letter choices are odd. For example, I is for inoculation, a word that the doctor is unlikely to use during an office visit. I suppose that they were trying to avoid I is for injection, but how about I is for immunization? I wonder if maybe the author isn’t from the US? I think “inoculation” is more common in other countries. (Quick check–yes the author is from England. I wonder why they didn’t change this for American readers?) A better example: L is for Light. I think that one is self-explanatory.

I also find the format of the book a little strange–the “A to Z” format is common for young, pre-school age children’s books, but the text seems to be for older children. Under “G is for Germs” the author writes: “Germs are so tiny you can see them only under a microscope. There are two kinds of germs–some are called bacteria and some are called viruses…” Would kids who are old enough to understand this description be young enough to want an ABC book? Another example: under “T is for Thermometer” the author writes — “Thermometers used to be made from glass and were filled with a substance called mercury”. Not only is this confusing for younger readers (What is a “substance”? What is mercury?), this is not useful information for older readers and just begs more questions than it answers (Why did they stop using mercury?).

Who should buy this book: Parents of young children who are interested in finding out more about health and medicine. Parents looking for a health-themed book for their kids to read in the doctor’s office.

This books is not for: Older children who may want more details than the book can provide or who wouldn’t appreciate the “ABC” format.

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