Checkups can make anyone anxious; Maud the koala models how to use visualization to alleviate normal fears at the doctor’s office.
Like many doctors’ waiting rooms, this one is furnished with an aquarium. First Maud just hides behind it. When that doesn’t get her out of her checkup, she pretends she is a fish, swimming in the sea, to distract herself from her shot. No surprise, she doesn’t even feel the needle. Maud and her mother are cartoonish koalas. Dr. Susan is another animal, perhaps an opossum, while the female receptionist is a bunny. Narrative text across the top of comic-strip panels describes the waiting room and the actual medical exam. Maud’s fantasy breaks out to occupy full-bleed, double-page spreads. A “Note to Caregivers” on the final page explains a bit more about visualization techniques and claims “Studies have shown that children who have been distracted by blowing bubbles during injections have reported less pain.” Beginning readers have probably already had most of their vaccinations, but the reminder of these coping techniques could prove useful. Maud seems to be an extremely anxious koala. In Much Too Much Birthday (published simultaneously), Maud uses similar strategies to cope when she feels overwhelmed. The stories are purposive, their bibliotherapeutic missions clear, but Maud is an appealing character.
Useful in physicians’ offices and early-childhood classrooms and for children whose nerves might be a bit jangly. (Early reader. 4-8)