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Inside Practically Paradise

EARACHES and Head-to-Toe Health by Elaine Landau

“Mommy, my ear hurts!” I swear as a parent and having been a child that those are the worst words to hear or utter. My poor parents dealt with my 7 ear surgeries and procedures since it was discovered I could barely hear in second grade. My poor mother had to put in ear drops that caused such excruciating  pain that I’d scream, and we’d both shake and cry. No wonder I raced my boys to the doctor at their slightest wince or tilt of the head. A statement like “Mommy, my ear hurts!” meant I was booking the first available doctor’s appointment.

When I saw the book Earaches in a review box, I quickly snatched it up. It reads clearly and explains the basic facts of earaches including their causes, prevention, and treatment. The information in the back matter is exceptionally good and I’ll be including the “Find Out More” section in lessons for my older students.

The only aspect I questioned was the paragraph explaining the reason some doctors wait to treat ear infections. Some doctors “want to see if the body can defeat the infection on its own. This is known as the WASP (wait-and-see period).”

I believe Landau’s research, but I disagree with the doctors on WASP. My body does not fight infections well. If I develop an ear infection, it can take 3-4 months to clear. My father fares the same. Even with my sons it took several prescriptions to battle some of their ear infections. The first doctor who advised waiting, admitted a week later with my oldest son that waiting was a terrible decision and could have resulted in permanent hearing loss. While I understand the theory that infections are becoming resistant to antibiotics, I know how terrible ear infections feel especially when the ear drum ruptures. The pain is terrible and cannot be relieved. As a parent I learned to be persistent in getting treatment.

When I was growing up, there were no books in my library about earaches. I knew of very few people who had tubes in their ears. None of my friends spent time driving throughout Iowa to wait in churches for mobile clinics to test their hearing and to decide if they’d face another surgery in Iowa City (six hours away).

Even my teachers were clueless. I can remember my basketball coach demanding I run 10 laps for every day of basketball practice I’d missed while out having surgery. I was still weak and dizzy plus I thought it was unfair and I refused to run the laps. This coach tormented me, even dragging me out of class to demand that I show up and run because it was a team rule. My father had to intervene to force the coach to leave me alone. Quite traumatic and I still crusade for those suffering from ear problems. I admit I quit the team after that season.

Marshall Cavendish Benchmark books wisely chose Elaine Landau to write their series of books for Head-to-Toe Health. Often when I pick up a nonfiction title that reads clearly and is popular with students, I look to see who the author is and discover… Elaine Landau. Be sure to check out Elaine Landau’s website at She describes how she writes:

“I write nonfiction children’s books – lots of them. The subjects I’ve researched range from Siamese fighting fish to the legal rights of minors. But all the books have one thing in common – they are written to connect with you – the reader. To share a thought, some information I’ve found, or offer a new way of looking at something.”

She is the author of over 300 titles (according to Balkin Buddies) and she has written some of my favorite nonfiction series including but not limited to:

  • The Best Cats Ever (Lerner Publishing) — made me want to get a RagDoll cat!
  • The Best Dogs Ever! (Lerner Publishing) — including Cocker Spaniels Are the Best! which is dedicated to me! Whoop! Whoop!
  • Animals of the Snow and Ice (Enslow Publishers) — love the Beluga Whales title!
  • What Would You Do? (Enslow Publishers) — which I reviewed
  • Planet Books (Scholastic Library Publishing) — including Beyond Pluto
  • Animals After Dark (Enslow Books) including my favorite Big Cats: Hunters of the Night
  • My Favorite Horses (Lerner Books) — OOPS! Where are the Tennessee Walking Horses? Hmm?!
  • I Like Holidays (Enslow) — What is Veteran’s Day? should be on all our shelves
  • many True Books, Cornerstones of Freedom, etc. and even stand-alone titles like  Oil Spill! Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico (Millbrook)