________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 38 . . . . June 5, 2015


Reptile Flu: A Story About Communication. (I'm A Great Little Kid Series).

Kathryn Cole. Illustrated by Qin Leng.
Toronto, ON: Second Story Press, 2015.
24 pp., hardcover, $15.95.
ISBN 978-1-927583-61-6.

Subject Heading:
Communication-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 4 / Ages 4-9.

Review by Karyn Miehl.

**** /4


Reptile Flu is a story that I enjoyed reading with my four- and six-year-olds, and they really liked it too. In this book, Kamal's fear of reptiles becomes the focus when he learns he is about to visit some at a museum on a field trip. He tries to voice his fears, tentatively at first, but then finds confidence and speaks loudly and clearly:

"Listen to me! I have something important to say. I am terrified of reptiles. I don't want to touch them or hold them or be anywhere near them. And I really, REALLY, REALLY don't want to go to the reptile show!"

Everything stopped.
No one moved.
No one spoke.
No one laughed.

internal art      One great feature of this story is that Kamal has a fear, as all kids do, that he tries to share aloud. It takes him several tries with several different people before he finds his voice. Young audiences of this book will relate to the idea of having fears that they may find difficulty in expressing. Seeing Kamal find his voice, and truly be heard, may help young readers find their own confidence to express themselves. Furthermore, Kamal is taken seriously, by adults and kids alike. He is not mocked or ridiculed; instead, his teacher and classmates admit to their fears as well. In the end, Kamal faces his fear of reptiles, finds courage, and holds a baby alligator. The story ends on a positive note, with Kamal connecting to his mother's words from earlier in the story, that this field trip will grant him a "precious memory".

      Other notable characteristics of this story are the multi-cultural cast of characters with diverse skin tones and clothing items representing different cultures, and the breaking of traditional stereotypes (such as when Kamal's dad is doing the vacuuming, and such as female characters liking snakes and turtles while the main male character shows fear of all reptiles).

      The colourful images add interest to the pages of Reptile Flu. They are bright and clearly depict characters' emotions through facial expressions and body language.

Highly Recommended.

Karyn Miehl, a mother of two and a secondary school English teacher, lives in Kingsville, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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ISSN 1201-9364
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