Arm yourself for the cold and flu season! Cook up some chicken noodle soup, fluff the pillows, and settle in with some misery-loves-company stories, such as…
The Sniffles for Bear, by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton published in 2011 by Candlewick Press
Bear tends towards the grumpity side even on the best of days, so when his throat gets “sore and gruffly” and his nose is all “sniffly-snouted” you just know he’s going to be extra tetchy.
Cheerful, irrepressible Mouse is eager to be Nurse and Pleasant Companion, but Bear resists all his attempts to divert and comfort. Instead, he moans and groans with artful melodrama. Sheesh. Finally, after a long nap, Bear wakes feeling better, but now Mouse falls ill. How will Bear do when the tables are turned?
Every Bear and Mouse story is worth reading over and over. Lovable characters, a humorous clash of personalities, heaps of affection, plus Denton’s amusing illustrations of these two mismatched friends — it all adds up to first-rate charm. Ages 2 and up.
Mr. Putter & Tabby Catch the Cold, by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Arthur Howard published in 2002 by Harcourt, Inc.
Here’s another warmhearted story of friends who care.
This time, it’s Mr. Putter who’s blowing and hacking and generally feeling miserable. He has fond memories of the pampering he had as a kid when he was in bed with a cold, but now he’s “old with a cold” and it’s no fun at all.
Leave it to Mrs. Teaberry, that neighborliest of neighbors, and her good dog, Zeke, to save the day. It takes quite a bit of ingenuity, a dash of convincing, and a dose of desperation, for it all to come together, but the result is fabulous. Almost worth getting sick, to give this little system a try!
I love the Mr. Putter stories. Perfect early-readers, with plots, writing, and illustrations fizzy enough to use as read-alouds with young children ages 2 and up.
Never Catch a Cold, written and illustrated by André François originally created in 1966; published in 2012 by The Creative Company
This quirky, cautionary tale is a total riot. The material was created by legendary French illustrator André François for an advertising campaign back in the ’60s.
His trademark black-and-white ink paintings, all blobs and quavering lines, trumpet wry humor from the pages as he spins out this deadpan, informative lecture about Colds. A Cold, just so you know, looks like this:
…and these Colds have survived since prehistory because little children, from time immemorial, are always taught to never catch a Cold. Thus, they have no mortal enemies.
François introduces us to the many varieties of Colds, the classes of Colds — good Colds and bad Colds, the ease with which one can catch a Cold, and the wisdom of NOT catching one.
Superlative humor. Epic imagination. A small-but-stout sized book. For children old enough to enjoy puns and satire, and definitely for grown-ups, this is a treat.
Here are a couple of titles for would-be doctors and nurses who just want a little practice:
Doctor Nice, written and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev published in 2015 by Holiday House
There’s quite a line-up in Doctor Nice’s waiting room. Crows. Goats. A massive moose with the sneezles.
One at a time the fuzzy, furry patients tell the nice doctor their woes and he dexterously treats them all. Copious bandaging appears to be his special knack.
When Mommy says it’s time for lunch, we get one last — surprising — glimpse of the invalids, which may inspire some doctoring in your household, too. Friendly, imaginative, fun for ages 2 and up.
Nurse Clementine, written and illustrated by Simon James published in 2013 by Candlewick
Young Clementine Brown gets a realio coolio nurse outfit and kit for her birthday and she is pumped to try it out. Large and in-charge, she begins taking care of the bumps and pains around the house. And once again, this bandaging business seems to be The Thing to do.
Annoyingly, her brother Tommy, whose recklessness results in Plentiful Opportunities to Bandage, is a completely unwilling patient. Insists he needs no Medical Attention. Grrgh.
Is it okay to root for Tommy to get hurt…just a wee bit? Just enough for Nurse Clementine to ply her trade? You’ll have to read this lighthearted story to see how dear Clemmy gets her chance. Illustrated in Simon James’ humorous, wibbly-wobbly line and gloriously-light watercolors. Ages 2 and up.
Finally, one look at a furry helper for kids with much more than a bad cold:
Mogie: The Heart of the House, by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by Marc Rosenthal published in 2014 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
This beautiful story is about a special dog named Mogie, a companion dog at the Ronald McDonald House in Houston, who has an unusual aptitude for knowing just which child needs his snuggly presence.
When a child is especially out of spirits or full of the miseries in their long battles with illness, Mogie makes a bee-line to them, sidles up, leans in, and exudes doggy-love. All of which is amazingly restorative.
Take a tour of the Ronald McDonald world, meet this lovable fellow named Mogie, and watch him work his charms on several residents. He’s honestly the heart of the house.
Great, upbeat story for ages 3 and up which introduces kids to service dogs and to long-term childhood illness in a warm, not-at-all-scary way.