#229 – The Girl Who Cannot Eat Peanut Butter by Sharon Chisvin

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 20093 Stars

The Girl Who Cannot Eat Peanut Butter

Sharon Chisvin

Carol Leszcz

20 Pages   Ages: 3 to 7

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Back Cover:  The Girl Who Cannot Eat Peanut Butter is a rhyming story for young children about coping with food allergies. The girl of the title sometimes gets upset about having a food allergy, but then remembers that everyone in her class “has something special or different that no one else has.”

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The Girl Who Cannot Eat Peanut Butter is like no other story I have ever reviewed. The book’s website told me this:

“The Girl Who Cannot Eat Peanut Butter is a rhyming story for young children about coping with food allergies. The girl of the title sometimes gets upset about having a food allergy, but then remembers that everyone in her class “has something special or different that no one else has.”

A story requires characters, plots, and a beginning and ending, with a middle in between. A story uses punctuation, specifically commas and periods. This is not a story. Are there characters? Yes, there are characters mentioned including several students, and one teacher. Is there a main character? No, there is not a main character.

Sam is the intended main character. In reality, Sam is a subject but not a character. She has no dialogue, does not move, or have any action. There is no plot to give her any. Is there a beginning, middle and end. No, those are not present, though there is a sequence of events, but they do not tell a story. Punctuation is glaringly absent.

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The Girl Who Cannot Eat Peanut Butter is a booklet about peanut allergies that rhymes so the younger child can understand the subject. The rhyming tricks you into thinking this is a story. It is not a picture book, but it does have a few illustrations. There are five illustrations; some cropped into “new” illustrations. Self-publishing can be expensive, especially if illustrations are needed. Re-using a few illustrations—turning them into something new—would help contain costs.

sam eatsThe Girl Who Cannot Eat Peanut Butter has several online reviews, including from a couple of sites I follow because of the talent writing those reviews. Nearly every one of those sites, and a few more on Amazon, gave this “book” the equivalent of five stars out of five. Each had reasons for doing this and I am not saying I know better. Many reviewers do not write negative reviews. I am not one of those reviewers. When asked to review a book or a story about X or Y, that is what I will review.

If asked to review a pamphlet about peanut allergies written for young children, I would say the use of rhyme was a smart decision that should charm children and help the parent read this with gusto. I would say the list of children and their differences is too long, though inclusive. I would say the topic sequence worked well, adding to the feel of a story.

If asked to review a pamphlet on allergies, specifically to nuts, I would say the categories are easy to discern. The categories are (with samples of the rhymes):

  1. Diversity and Being Different:                                                 at doc

……………“Niri Kramer is very tall

…………...Justin Jameson is rather small”

  1. Peanut Butter:

……………“Kids like to bring it for lunch everyday

……………It gives them energy to learn and to play

……………But the girl named Sam is allergic to peanuts

…………..And peanuts are in peanut butter’s ingredients”

  1. Living with a Nut Allergy:

……………“Sam can’t ever smell it or touch it or taste it

……………Or cook it or roast it or fry it or bake it”

  1. Food Alternatives:

…………..“Green peppers and spinach on brown bread

.…………..A bagel with sprouts and chocolate spread”

  1. Allergic Reactions to Nuts:

…………...“If Sam ate peanuts she wouldn’t feel well

……………Her tummy would hurt and her tongue might swell”

  1. Medical Professionals:

……………“Well, Sam went to see a allergy doctor

……………Who sat her down and patiently taught her”

  1. Emotional Reactions to an Allergy:

……………“Now sometimes her allergy does make her mad

……………When she can’t have cake at a party she gets sad”

Finally, if asked to review this as a pamphlet on peanut allergies for young children. I would conclude by saying I thought this was a clever way to help children understand an often-difficult subject. The rhyming adds the perfect touch. The eatingsingsong affect of the rhymes will help children remember the content better than plain text. The illustrations—which look drawn by a child—makes the pamphlet and its subject less threatening to children.

Being asked to review a story—a book—for young children about peanut allergies I would have to say I did not like the story. I never like saying I do not like a book. I detest having to say a story was horrible or non-existent. I must say both about this young children’s story about peanut allergies.

I wish the request was to review a pamphlet for young children about peanut allergies. Some will say, “What’s the difference.” Well, there is a big difference and the author, a journalist with many credits to pic3[1]her name would understand this.

But if I had reviewed this as the pamphlet, as I believe it to be, I would say I loved it. I loved the rhyming that will keep the child interested and help them retain the message. I would have said this pamphlet should be in every pediatrician and pediatric allergist office, and the hospital wards that treat these kids. The Girl Who Cannot Eat Peanut Butter is not a story or a book, but it is a wonderful pamphlet on peanut allergies for young children.

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The Girl Who Cannot Eat Peanut Butter

Author: Sharon Chisvin    website
Illustrator: Carol Leszcz  about
Publisher: Sharon Chisvin    trailer   website
Release Date:  2012
ISBN: 978-0-9880104-0-6
Number of Pages: 20
Ages: 3 to 7
Text: Copyright ©2012 by Sharon Chisvin, used with permission.
Illustrations: Copyright ©2012 by Carol Leszcz, used with permission.
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12 thoughts on “#229 – The Girl Who Cannot Eat Peanut Butter by Sharon Chisvin

  1. I really enjoyed reading your review Sue. As you know, we reviewed that book as well and we really enjoyed it. I never really approached it as a story. I see it more as a resource to be used in a classroom which can provide a stepping stone to discussions around the issue. I can totally see a teacher reading the book to her class and then asking children specific questions so that there can be a class discussion. “How are YOU different from everyone in the class?” “What did you bring for lunch today?” “Is anyone allergic to anything else? Strawberries? Milk? Wheat?” “How do you feel when you eat those things?” etc… I think the real problem is that YOU should have written the text for the back cover! lol

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      • What?! Loss for words?! That is simply unacceptable. lol I’m not razing ya! I think you nailed it – the back cover text doesn’t really go with the book. It shouldn’t be marketed as a story, but rather a tool to be used in classrooms, libraries, etc for teaching children about nut allergies. I think you could have eked out another star if the back cover text was re-written. 😉

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    • Thanks Erik, I appreciate that. This was a tough one. It has great information phrased in a way kids will listen. But not a story. The author needs to market this differently. I bet as a resource schools would eat this up, pun intended.

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  2. If I had a kid with an allergy, I’d be the volunteer Mom heading in to class to read that pamphlet the first week of school every year! Important topic with dire consequences if the situation is ignored ot lost in the shuffle.

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  3. Thank you for your honest and thoughtful review. I appreciated the lesson! This is an important subject. I have several friends at school who deal with this very thing. There are signs all over the school about peanuts. NO peanuts here! No peanuts here! It would be good to be able to make everyone aware of why these signs are important.

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    • I do not remember any signs like that when I went to school. So much more is known today it must be hard on teachers to remember everything. Allergies have nothing to do with teaching math or social studies, yet they need to know it and look out for the kids. Teachers have it a lot tougher nowadays.

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    • Do they still have school nurses? That would be the person to market to if they still are around. Or the school social worker. A great one to send home with the kids after reading it in class. So much potential for this one.

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