An Israeli import puts a new spin on the sick-day theme—not to mention the Tiger Mother.
Sadie wakes up feeling funny, and Mama isn’t sure what’s wrong. As it turns out, she has leopardpox, which makes her transform into a leopard cub. Mama’s three sons help her decide how to help Sadie, starting with a visit to the pediatrician. This doesn’t go well, so they head to the veterinarian. Although he’s delighted to have a leopard patient, he can’t help change her back into a child. “Are you sure you don’t want to keep her the way she is?” he asks. “There are lots of little girls, but this is a very cute and special leopard.” Unmoved, Mama replies, “My daughter is also very cute and special…and I miss her.” After determining that school is no place for a leopard, they head to the zoo; but even as a leopard cub, Sadie doesn’t want to be separated from her family, and Mama issues a satisfying roar demanding to be with her daughter. Somehow, snuggles at home cure Sophie of her ailment/transformation, but a punch line at book’s end sees Mama coming down with the same affliction. Throughout, Hoffmann’s cartoonish, mixed-media art is both expressive and descriptive of the family’s travails, and it infuses the book with humor.
Pair this with David Small’s Imogene’s Antlers (1985) for prime sick-day silliness. (Picture book. 3-8)