Krall’s latest is a disgusting, tongue-in-cheek lesson in contagiousness.
Simon loves school so much that even a cold (with its attendant snotty nose) won’t keep him home. He kisses his family and boards the bus, proceeding to vomit out the window on the way: “He…had fun the whole way,” the text understates. The merest contact or proximity leads others to suddenly, and unrealistically, sport Simon’s symptoms. The week includes show-and-tell, a zoo field trip, a game of kickball and a child-free bus on Friday afternoon, all the children having finally succumbed to his illness. The three germs that have been following him around all week finally introduce themselves and high-five him for being such a “germ hero.” Horrified, Simon does his best to stop their spread, washing his hands, covering his mouth, resting and hydrating, though the same cannot be said for one classmate on Monday morning. Krall’s illustrations work in the ick factor, his Photoshopped characters sporting oozing and dripping poison-green noses as each comes into contact with Simon. Careful observers may spot the colorful germs before they introduce themselves, but even those who don’t will want to go back and try to find all their appearances.
Though the science is not particularly solid, the message is an important one, and with the level of gross in the illustrations, it is sure to get through to young audiences. (Picture book. 4-8)