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Allergic | Review

Book Cover of Allergic

When the doorbell rang at 6 p.m. on a Saturday evening, I wasn’t expecting a UPS delivery. It was exciting to open up the package and find the much-anticipated ARC of Allergic in my hands. Of course, I had to immediately read it.

Allergic
By Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter
Scholastic, March 2021
Grades 3 and up

In this heartwarming story, Maggie is super excited on her tenth birthday. She will finally get her dog. But at the animal shelter, Maggie suffers an intense allergic reaction and all her dreams of owning a pet are dashed. She is told that she is highly allergic to fur and feathers, and it doesn’t look like a pet will be in her future.

Maggie feels very alone. Her parents are “baby obsessed,” with the impending arrival of a new addition. Her twin brothers are always into each other and have very little space for her. So, when a new neighbor moves in, Maggie is thrilled to have a friend of her very own. But even that is threatened when Claire gets a pet dog, even though she knows Maggie is allergic. Maggie backs away from the friendship angrily. All the while, she is trying to find the perfect pet that won’t make her break out in hives and rashes.

On one level, this might seem like a story about a kid who wants a pet and will try anything to get one. But this is a well-rounded story that has multiple layers and will appeal to young readers. It’s a story of one’s sense of place not only in their social sphere at school, but even more important, at home. The creators paint a warm and loving family atmosphere, though it’s definitely imperfect. And the various family dynamics all felt very relatable and all too real.

The artwork is heartwarming, with a warm color palette.  Young readers will gravitate to the familiar style made popular by Raina Telgemeier’s books and Jennifer L. Holm’s Sunny series.

This will be a widely asked-for title and is needed on every bookshelf. And if it isn’t being requested, the cover will draw readers in. Still need more push? A quick hook by any seasoned librarian, teacher, or book lover will get this title into the hands of readers.

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Esther Keller About Esther Keller

Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. Her collection is also the model for all middle school libraries in NYC. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library, and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.

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