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Sarah and Puffle: A Story for Children About Diabetes by Linnea Mulder, R.N.-27 pages, $8.95 + S&H
Available from: Magination Press, 19 Union Square West, New York, NY, 10003
Phone: (800) 825-3089
During a summer on the farm, Sarah faces the struggle of coming to grips with her diabetes.
In Sarah and Puffle, Linnea Mulder realistically addresses a little girl's resentment and fear. Sarah's non-diabetic sister Emily can eat animal crackers without restraint, and this is one more reminder to Sarah of what she can't do. Sarah has to be constantly aware of the clock so she can keep track of her snacktimes and blood tests. The curiosity of her cousin alienates her further. When it all becomes too much for her, she escapes to the barn to mull over her feelings.
Luckily for Sarah, her stuffed lamb Puffle comes to life, cheering her with rhymes about how to take care of herself and reminding her of all the things she can do.
The story is told in a simple, non-threatening way that will help small children identify with Sarah. Joanne H. Friar's line illustrations are cute, though a few color images might brighten up the overall feeling. In the introduction and throughout the book, there are fairly straightforward explanations of fingerpokes and other things people with diabetes must do each day. Mulder acknowledges that shots hurt, but just a little, and Sarah is brave. The ending is upbeat without being sappy, showing that since Sarah has had her insulin shot she can enjoy a normal meal with her family.
On the last page is an illustration of Sarah's Diabetes Care Kit, including Puffle, boxes of raisins, and a lancet device without a lancet, which may mislead some children. It should also be noted that Sarah carries raisins around in case of low blood sugar, and raisins will not raise ones blood glucose level very quickly. Mulder would have been more accurate had she depicted Sarah toting glucose tablets, which work better and don't promote tooth decay.
Sarah and Puffle is definitely for very young children. Older kids will likely find it a bit dull. However, Mulder has done a service for little ones confused and frightened by their condition. The book can be used to stimulate questions and acceptance.
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