Dr. Rosie Helps the Animals
Jennifer Welborn (author) Rozillia MH (illustrator)
Waterbear Publishing, LLC 2022
Reviewed by Eve Panzer, The Barefoot Librarian for Reader Views Kids (04/2023)
Picture books are great vehicles to introduce children to a variety of topics. However, since picture books are so short, it is quite challenging to effectively relay multiple messages in one story. Nevertheless, Dr. Rosie Helps the Animals successfully relays several messages to its young audience – including empowering girls, building self-esteem and confidence, problem-solving, treating animals with empathy and respect, embracing curiosity, and using your imagination.
The main characters are a female veterinarian and her inquisitive daughter. Through the illustrations, the reader learns they are people of color. These representations in children’s books are essential. However, it is equally vital that there are books with diverse characters in storylines all kids can relate to easily. And Dr. Rosie Helps the Animals efficaciously achieves this goal through an engaging story.
Rosie watches her mother work with her animal patients. She learns that in certain mild cases, non-pharmaceutical remedies can be appropriate. For example, her mother explains that certain types of honey can kill germs, juice from the leaves of an aloe vera plant can soothe skin, ice can ease swelling, and heat can reduce pain.
Rosie then sets out in a dream series to attend to some animals suffering from minor ailments. She begins by treating smaller animals living in her surroundings – a rabbit and a pig. Soon she gains the confidence to treat more exotic, wilder animals, including a giraffe, an elephant, and a crocodile. Lastly, she tends to creatures from the aquatic and arctic realms. Numerous animals are covered in the book, and it might keep readers’ attention if fewer animals were featured.
The book’s end notes contain interesting information, including the fact that a real giraffe was successfully treated at a veterinary clinic and that crocodiles get new teeth and do teethe all their lives. In addition, veterinarians use both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical remedies. Finally, it is made very clear that children should never tend to any animals without adult supervision and should never approach wild animals – Rosie only did so in her dream.
Dr. Rosie Helps the Animals is an entertaining, educational book with simple, colorful illustrations. It addresses multiple positive messages mentioned above and provides a fun springboard for discussing these themes. Dr. Rosie Helps the Animals is a worthy addition to a STEM collection.
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