OuchOuch!

3 star

By Joe Rhatigan, Illustrated by Anthony Owsley
Imagine Publishing, $14.95, 80 pages

Joe Rhatigan’s kids’ health book – amusingly titled Ouch! The Weird & Wild Ways Your Body Deals with Agonizing Aches, Ferocious Fevers, Lousy Lumps, Crummy Colds, Bothersome Bites, Breaks, Bruises & Burns & Makes Them Feel Better! – is a great idea. With colorful photos and illustrations, Rhatigan tackles some of the most pressing and basic kid health questions: What is a blister? Why does poison ivy cause an itchy rash? What makes me dizzy? Rhatigan answers each question with four consistent, colorful subheadings: (1) First Response, (2) What Your Doctor Does, (3) What Your Body Does, and (4) What You Can Do To Prevent (an earache, motion sickness, headaches, etc.).

“It’s a beautiful day and you decide to take your bike out for a ride. However, no matter how hard you push, the pedals won’t budge. Is there a problem with the chain and cranks? The pedals and gears? Now, the more you know about bikes, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to figure it out and fix the problem yourself. Well, the same thing goes with your body. Knowing how the body works and what it does when you’re sick or hurt can help you make decisions about what to do when you skin your knee, catch a cold, or hurt your wrist” (10).

Unfortunately Rhatigan’s editors did not successfully match his content with appropriate art. While the pages are colorful and enticing, their cartoonish nature is eye candy for preschool and early elementary ages; Rhatigan’s content, on the other hand, is more appropriate for high-level tweeners. Consider Rhatigan’s discussion of the common cold, for example: “Once virus particles get into your nose, the mucus lining of your nasal cavity captures many of them before they can get into your lungs. You’ll either swallow that mucus, and your stomach acids will kill the virus particles, or you’ll sneeze the virus particles out of your system. The virus pathogens that escape and are able to penetrate the mucus and enter your nasal cavity are attacked by white blood cells called macrophages”. A better version of Ouch! would pair Rhatigan’s excellent content with illustrations that are enticing to middle-schoolers rather than preschoolers.

Reviewed by Jennie A. Harrop

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