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This one is about: Book Review: Koko Bear's Big Earache

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Preparing your Child for Ear Tube Surgery
Author: Vicki Lansky
Publisher: Bantan Books
Cost: $4.95

Reviewed by Joanne Green

Koko Bear wakes up during the night with a bad earache. His mother takes him to the doctor and he gets medicine for it. But the doctor explains to Momma Bear that Koko should have ear tube surgery so that he will not have so many earaches, and so that he will be able to hear better. The remainder of the story chronicles the trip to the hospital, and the entire experience through Koko Bear's eyes as he is assisted by understanding and interested medical professionals. In the end Koko Bear goes home and is treated with a special dinner and family celebration. Koko observes that the hospital is a nice place, but "home is the nicest place of all."

Throughout the story, each page of text includes a small insert of dialog directed at the parent. In those inserts, each step of the process is clearly explained and helpful hints are offered. I found that a delightful addition to the whimsical story, in that often it is assumed that parents already know what is happening to their child. In truth, many parents are very anxious concerning this surgery, largely because first-time parents have no experience to draw from.

The final pages of this small book are devoted to a section covering commonly-asked questions and their answers. In this section the author offers some of the more technical information and includes a diagram that illustrates the placement of myringotomy tubes.

This story is well told in simple, understandable language, from the child's point of view. The illustrations, by Jane Prince, are soft and appealing and complement the text wonderfully.

Koko Bear's Big Earache should be read aloud and shared with children who are anticipating an upcoming myringotomy. While this book is not designed to address issues specific to cleft lip and palate, it does address a procedure that our children are only too familiar with. The simple language, familiar illustrations and likable characters make this book a valuable piece for most children's libraries - particularly that of a child born with a cleft lip and palate.

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