Diarrhea can cause distress, especially in young children. It causes parents to worry, too. I should know. A couple weeks back my daughter caught an intestinal virus and suffered for two weeks straight. The poor girl lost weight, visited the doctor and missed several days of preschool. She dealt with it in her own way, by making up a song with the refrain, "DiarrhEEEEEEEEEEEEa, DiarrhEEEEEEEEEEEEa! Oh, oh, oh, DiarrhEEEEEEEEEEEEa!" (While she didn't enjoy the illness at all, she liked saying the funny, new word repeatedly in a loud voice.) Her sickness made us all miserable because it interrupted our lives, schedule and meal plans.
The Moose with Loose Poops picture book by Charlotte Cowan, M.D. discusses the subject of gastroenteritis with humor and kid appeal. A little moose named Miles goes on a picnic with his family and suddenly becomes ill. He throws up and his parents take him home and put him to bed. The next day he suffers from a bout of diarrhea (loose poops) he describes as a "waterfall" coming out of his bottom. As a result of his illness he must postpone a camping trip with his father. His parents show great care and concern for their little moose, and even Miles' sister reassures him that everyone experiences stomach ailments at some point and that he will get better. Mom calls Dr. Hippo and he recommends lots of fluids and no school. Miles recovers after a few days, just in time to go on a special camping trip with his dad.
The book certainly struck a chord with my daughter. She sat and listened to the entire book with great interest and commiserated with Miles, the diarrhea-stricken moose. The Moose with Loose Poops helped her realize that she would get better eventually with proper care and encouraged her to keep drinking fluids. She also learned a new handwashing song she can sing to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star from reading the book. And, of course, she loved the colorful watercolor illustrations by Penelope Neal of the cute moose family.
The unusual title of Cowan's book has garnered some attention. One blogger went as far as calling it the "most disgusting book title ever." Cowan doesn't leave much to the imagination in her title or in the book itself. The main character in the book vomits chunks of hot dog and is depicted sitting on the potty, though he is covered discreetly with toilet paper. But, everything shown is true to life. Nearly all kids I know have encountered some type of virus causing these problems and they can't help but discuss their toilet time. I applaud the author for writing a book that portrays gastroenteritis in an honest, educational and imaginative way children can understand. A separate, laminated parent guide called "Getting Through Gastroenteritis" is included in the back of the book and offers helpful tips for parents on how to cope with gastroenteritis.
The Moose with Loose Poops, by Charlotte Cowan, M.D., illustrated by Penelope Neal. The Hippocratic Press (January 2009); 32 pages; ISBN 9780975351659Dr. Charlotte Cowan is a board-certified pediatician, a mother, and the author of the Dr. Hippo Series of books published by the Hippocratic Press. The other books in the Dr. Hippo Series for children ages 2-7 include: The Little Elephant with the Big Earache, Katie Caught a Cold, Peeper Has a Fever and Sadie's Sore Throat.
Update 3/1/09 - To help celebrate Book Giveaway Carnival Week, author Dr. Charlotte Cowan has kindly offered to sponsor a giveaway!
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Welcome to Brimful Curiosities, where every week is a children's book carnival! This review/giveaway is one of my contributions to the Book Giveaway Carnival, (March 2-8, 2009). Head over there for all the great giveaways this week! And don't forget to enter my other giveaways!