It’s Dixie’s first day of school, and some of her classmates are sharing details about their various allergies. Bridget tells of her wheat allergy and how she gets to order a special meal from restaurants. Dixie thinks that must be a really special meal! And Charlie had to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance once due to his dairy allergy. Dixie thinks that must have been thrilling! Even Hannah gets to wear a fashionable bracelet due to her peanut allergy. Dixie races home and begins to eagerly search for the slightest sign of an allergy. After many failed attempts, Dixie discovers that she is allergic to something after all. But is getting what you wish for actually as exciting as it once appeared?
Dixie Wants an Allergy provides a comical and engaging approach for children who are beginning to learn about and who are coping with allergies—and who also have trouble finding what makes them unique. Corn’s playful text and Cole’s inviting illustrations encourage children to accept those with differences while learning that wanting what others have is not always a good idea.
Food allergies have become significantly more prevalent among young children. Those who have them are used to hearing about them and protecting themselves against consuming those foods. To children who have not yet been exposed to food allergies, it seems like a weird and wonderful world. Kids who have food allergies get special treatment. They often get to have a different snack, or to eat at a special table. Adults tend to pay more attention to them, as they make sure that those children are not exposed to harmful foods.
Young children especially have difficult understanding the abstract concept of allergies, whether food allergies or allergies in general. They have picked up on the fact that children with allergies are exempt from eating certain foods or performing certain tasks. They quickly start to say that they, too, are allergic to certain foods, but only because they just don't want to eat them. I vividly remember trying to pull the same stunt when I was a kid, and see it regularly in my classroom.
Dixie is no different than these children. She quickly picks up on the other children's special treatment and wants to be a part of it. She tries to "become allergic" to the various triggers of her classmates, but to no avail. When she does finally find her own allergy trigger, she learns that allergies aren't as fun as they originally appeared to be. In fact, they are downright miserable. That lesson makes her think again before coveting what other children have. She seeks something more positive to wish for, to make her feel more special.
I like the lesson that allergies aren't necessarily a fun thing. I like the lesson that you should wish for positive things to make you stand out. The cliche "Be careful what you wish for" rings true in this story. She does finally find something worth wishing for, to be like one of her friends. A part of me just wishes that she could have found something within herself to stand out, instead of mimicking the other children. Then, perhaps one of them could wish to be just like Dixie
I liked Nancy Cole's illustrations in this book, as well. They are charming, and definitely something that kids will enjoy.
This book would be great in the classroom as a launching point about children's allergies, as well as self-esteem and finding something that makes you special.
Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book via NetGalley, for the purpose of reviewing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.