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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Doctor Nice, written and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev. Holiday House, Thomas Allen & Son. 2015. $23.95 ages 3 and up

"Who's next?" asked Doctor
Nice. "I am," said Moose.
"I fell through the ice. Achoo!
Please help me, Doctor."
"Don't worry. You just have
a cold," said Doctor Nice.
"Stay in bed for a few days,
and you'll soon feel better."
"I will. Achoo! I will.
"Thank you, Doctor."
"Who's next?" ... "

If you are looking for a book about professionals, you might want to share this one about a young and compassionate doctor who spends the day caring for each of the animals that pay a visit to the medical clinic. The variety in illness is immense. The tiny doctor, dressed in green scrubs, a mask and all of the paraphernalia needed to cure the multitude of patients, is IN.

First up is Mother Crow, worrying about her young son who hurt his foot while skiing. A cast for the broken foot is just what the doctor orders and mother and son are soon on their way. As one patient exits, a new one makes an entrance. From a moose with a cold to a cow with a broken tail, the doctor works medical magic in providing the perfect treatment for each. At the end of a long day of looking after others, there is a surprise in store for Dr. Nice ... and for the readers of this warm and lively book.

Valeri Gorbachev  uses watercolor and ink to bring this imaginative romp to life for his young readers. There are so many details sure to encourage attention and discussion as readers take note of the patients' complaints before they are shared. The pig is protecting her nose, the moose is carrying a large handkerchief, the goat kids are holding their heads protectively. On each double page spread showing the source of the medical complaint, we get a close look at the event that initiates a trip to the doctor in the first place. So much fun for little ones. A story to be shared when cold winter weather keeps everyone inside, and for using the imagination to get through the long, cold days.

That surprise ending is icing on the cake for this charming readaloud.

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