Review: Allergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd
By Megan Wagner Lloyd
Illustrated by Michelle Mee Nutter
Out March 2, 2021
When a children’s book tackles a real-world topic that can have a huge (and often, negative) impact on a kid’s life, I brace myself. Not because reading about challenging topics can be hard (although, yes, that can definitely be the case), but more because I hope the book presents the topic in a realistic way. The bad with the good. Not some puppy dogs and rainbows overly optimistic falsehood. That was on my mind as I started reading Allergic – a graphic novel about a kid with some severe allergies. But I was pleased to find a book that didn’t shy away from the outright sucky-ness of the situation, while slowly building toward well-earned optimism. Well-crafted, affecting, and charming, Allergic is already one of my favorites of the year.
It was my tenth birthday. And it was going to be the best birthday of my whole life.
Maggie’s dream is about to come true.
New. Pet. Puppy.
But a severe allergic reaction (to both fur and feathers) leaves Maggie pet-less and dejected, trying to navigate her new reality. With a new sibling on the way and friend troubles brewing, will Maggie find a pet that she can call her own?
Considering the number of people who have an allergy of some sort, it’s kind of amazing there aren’t more books on the topic. Allergic dives in head first, establishing Maggie’s allergy early on and showing how it can affect life at home, at school, and with friends and family. It’s an eye-opening walk in Maggies shoes, and one that readers will take with them.
The illustrations are expressive and unfussy, with a light and soft color palette. Panel layouts are straightforward. This all leads to an infinitely page-turnable comic.
Put this one on your list, folks. Real, relatable, and charming as all get-out, Allergic is a book that’s easy to recommend.
Review copy from the publisher.
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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