Better safe than sorry when you don’t feel well.
In a small village in eastern Nigeria, Vicky, who looks about 6, watches listlessly as her friends play all around her and doesn’t take part. Nor does she join in when they start drawing pictures. Vicky also won’t eat her mother’s food, a sure sign that something’s wrong. Her father feels her forehead; it’s hot. Her mother declares she must take Vicky to the doctor. The clinic’s not far away, so they’re able to walk. The doctor, a grandmotherly woman with wire-rimmed eyeglasses, has a gentle manner. She takes Vicky’s temperature and listens to her chest, recommending that the little girl be kept cool and given lots of water. In no time, Vicky feels much better, displaying a healthy appetite and playing and drawing pictures with her friends again. The high-resolution color photographs that illustrate the book provide many interesting details of village life in Nigeria, and Vicky makes a winsome protagonist. In contrast, the story is a bit flat, and Onyefulu’s text has the brevity and stiltedness of a primer. This accessibility should appeal to beginning readers, but as a read-aloud it suffers. Ife’s First Haircut, a companion piece featuring an adorable male toddler, shares this offering’s strengths and weaknesses.
A sweet, brief glimpse into a universal childhood experience in a very specific place.(Picture book. 4-7)