Allergies can wreck havoc on a kid who just wants to love a pet. Author Megan Wagner Lloyd tackles this issue in Allergic. Read on for a review of the graphic novel Allergic!
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A coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel featuring a girl with severe allergies who just wants to find the perfect pet!
At home, Maggie is the odd one out. Her parents are preoccupied with the new baby they’re expecting, and her younger brothers are twins and always in their own world. Maggie thinks a new puppy is the answer, but when she goes to select one on her birthday, she breaks out in hives and rashes. She’s severely allergic to anything with fur!
Can Maggie outsmart her allergies and find the perfect pet? With illustrations by Michelle Mee Nutter, Megan Wagner Lloyd draws on her own experiences with allergies to tell a heartfelt story of family, friendship, and finding a place to belong.
Fifth grader Maggie wants a dog more than anything! When her family goes to pick one out Maggie spots a dog that might be a good fit for her and her family, however as soon as she hugs the dog something strange happens. Maggie has an allergic reaction that includes sneezing and hives. She undergoes allergy testing and the worst is confirmed. She allergic to pets with fur and can’t get a new dog.
Maggie begins to research other pets, however her new fish dies, her lizard gets adopted by her twin brothers and Maggie is stuck and sad. Allergies are wrecking havoc on her life! Maggie beings to bond with two new friends (one of which also suffers from allergies) and they concoct a plan to buy a mouse and hide it from her parents. This doesn’t end well especially since Maggie has any started her allergy treatments. Will Maggie find the perfect pet and find peace with her friendships?
Maggie’s frustration over her health situation is really relatable considering the skyrocketing of peanut allergies over the years. Allergies can really prevent kids from living their best lives and I think Allergic really captures the uncertainty of young kids dealing with health issues. I also appreciated that Maggie’s family is interracial, the color used for the skin shades is subtle but I think it reflects the thousands of multiracial families in this country. Speaking of illustrations, they are beautiful with lots of corals and browns to craft Maggie’s family and community.
One criticism is that sometimes Maggie comes off bratty with her behavior especially when it comes her her neighbor. Twice she gets into arguments with her friend who is truly trying to be the best friend Maggie needs. I think this is a great opportunity to talk with young readers on how to not treat other people.
About the Author and Illustrator
Megan Wagner Lloyd is the author of several picture books, including Paper Mice, Building Books, Finding Wild, and A Fort-Building Time. She lives in the Washington DC area. Visit her online at meganwagnerlloyd.com.
Michelle Mee Nutter graduated with a BFA in Illustration from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Her work has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators, 3×3 Illustration, Creative Quarterly, and more. Michelle lives in Boston. Visit her online at michellemee.com.