Great intentions yield few rewards in this well-meaning, plodding explanation of breast cancer for kids.
A king and a queen call their sons in for a consultation. The queen reports that there is a rebellion underway, but it’s not in the kingdom. The rebellion is of breast-cancer cells, and the battlefield her body. Using martial terminology, the queen is able to answer her sons’ questions and calm their fears, walking them through the entire process of this “war.” Unlike similar books for a younger crowd, this title eschews avoiding frightening topics and uses an unusual approach to make the discussion about fighting cancer both straightforward and appealing. Sadly, troubles abound. Martín loads the book down with excess text, overloading readers from the start. The conceit—royal family, war terminology of many eras—lends itself to mixed metaphors. Most worrisome, at no point do the words “radiation” or “chemotherapy” appear. Instead faux treatments with names like “Scalpozap” and “Extermamide” muddy the issue. Silly, simplistic art adds little to the narrative, sometimes making things worse by displaying frighteningly huge syringes and pills.
A good idea drowns in unnecessary excess. (Picture book. 4-8)