A going-to-the-doctor picture book with a playful twist.
While some picture books about doctor visits focus on common fears about shots and such, this one instead immediately assuages such anxieties with its title and then presents a medical office visit as a comforting time. The diminutive Dr. Nice is the story’s hero, dispensing advice and care from behind a medical mask and voluminous scrubs. The grateful patients are all anthropomorphic animals who present with myriad ailments, ranging from a crow with a broken foot (injured while skiing) to a pig with a sore nose (diagnosis: frostbite). All the animals’ problems seem to be provoked by the wintry weather, and the end of the story reveals that Dr. Nice is a child making the best of indoor playtime. The message seems to be that the best antidote to ward off a case of boredom is a healthy imagination. Throughout, Gorbachev’s watercolor-and-ink illustrations infuse the simple tale with humor by emphasizing the size differential between Dr. Nice and some of his patients and by depicting the animals’ various mishaps as they describe them. Finally, closing pictures move from imagination to reality to show all the animals as stuffed toys and invite reflection back on the story as a whole.
Just what the doctor ordered for storytime fare. (Picture book. 3-5)