DOCTOR, WHAT IS CANCER? by Cassandra  Gullia


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In Gullia’s debut children’s book, a young bunny learns that treating cancer is like weeding a flower garden.

Every day Ally, a bunny, wakes up before the sun and races to the bottom of the hill to meet her friends. Then one day, she starts to feel sick and tired; her stomach hurts, and she doesn’t want to eat. When her doctor, Maggie, a dog, tells her that she has cancer, the little bunny isn’t sure what that means. So Maggie shows her a garden in which the flowers and dandelions compete for food. Just as dandelions steal food from flowers, the cancer steals energy from Ally, and like a gardener sprays dandelions, the doctors will use chemotherapy to fight the cancer. Gullia offers these comparisons as a comforting way to reduce children’s fears of cancer and as an accessible explanation for a complicated process. The garden’s vibrant colors also eliminate the sense that cancer is a shadowy thing. Ally goes from being an energetic bunny to a lethargic one, but with Maggie’s help, she becomes determined to “spray all the dandelions!” Although Ally never goes through hair loss (like many children undergoing chemotherapy), it is mentioned and compared to wilted and lost flower petals that grow back.

Bright colors and approachable analogies make this a reassuring book for youngsters.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-5255-0959-9
Page count: 28pp
Publisher: FriesenPress
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2018


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