20 Pages Ages: 3 to 7
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.”
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.
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.
The 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):
……………“Niri Kramer is very tall
…………...Justin Jameson is rather small”
- 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”
- 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”
- Food Alternatives:
…………..“Green peppers and spinach on brown bread
.…………..A bagel with sprouts and chocolate spread”
- Allergic Reactions to Nuts:
…………...“If Sam ate peanuts she wouldn’t feel well
……………Her tummy would hurt and her tongue might swell”
- Medical Professionals:
……………“Well, Sam went to see a allergy doctor
……………Who sat her down and patiently taught her”
- 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 singsong 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 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.
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.