Sandborn, the dog, is one in a group of endearing characters created by Denise Trager and Mary Ellen Panaccione in their growing series of books covering topics of importance to children, like anti-bullying and this one, going to the hospital to have tonsils removed. The authors share Sandborn’s journey from excited for his birthday party (chocolate cake?) to concern about another sore throat ruining the fun to feeling a little scared about having surgery. I appreciate how they tackle this situation of having tonsils removed and could see this book being helpful in pediatric clinics. Some of the language is perhaps a bit higher of a reading level than necessary and some of the content could be removed to decrease words per page, but still address the issue. For example Sandborn gets a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy; interesting to learn about, but probably not necessary to include adenoids to meet the end goal of the book. Same for the part of the story about the intravenous catheter placement; important topic but maybe one that could be simplified. This would also help with balancing out the amount of text per page as some are a little bit heavier and in a different font. I do want to give authors kudos for including women in roles like anesthesiologist and surgeon vs. the traditional nurse character (who happens to be a boy bear named Rodney).
That all said my son (2) and I read this book together. He liked the short tunes the authors’ composed and provides as free downloads on their website. I appreciate how they note visually when to play the song as part of the story and have the words in the back to follow along. They are short simple tunes that my son seemed to enjoy. The illustrations flow right along with the story (another reason to have less text on the page) and have some key visuals to support the parts of the stories designed to teach about the hospital processes. There is also a theme about time with both calendar and clock with visuals in the pictures. I could see it being a useful prompt for early time learners.
A visit to their website www.huggablemelodies.com will further highlight the author’s passion and vision for Sandborn and his friends, Poindexter, Drysdale, and Bonky.
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