Meet Maggie, a 10-year-old animal lover who can’t wait for her much anticipated birthday present, a pet dog. She’s excited to finally have someone to play with, as her parents are preoccupied with getting ready for a new baby, and her twin younger brothers don’t have much in common with her. They’re too busy wrestling and horsing around to pay any attention to Maggie’s interests.
When the moment finally comes when Maggies gets to find her very own pet dog, the unexpected happens. She gets itchy everywhere, and her eyes start swelling up. Her family has to leave that perfect puppy behind and take her to a doctor. It turns out she’s allergic to almost everything that has fur or feathers. Maggie is devastated. Luckily, she’s a quick thinker, and she’s determined. She comes up with a list of other possible pets that maybe she wouldn’t be allergic to and she could enjoy. At the same time, a new neighbor, Clare moves in. They become instant friends, even though Clare is older. Clare gets to work helping Maggie figure out which pet she could keep, which leads Maggie to getting into a bit of trouble when the list of possible pets transpires into more than just words on a page.
Allergic is an absolutely adorable story with characters that are impossible not to love. Maggie has a personality that is likeable and easy to sympathize with when she is facing hardships, even when she doesn’t make the right decision initially. The family dynamics show positive and healthy relationships with different kinds of families and include extended families too. The artwork is very kid friendly with easy to follow panels and little background detail. It reminds me of Raina Telgemeier’s style, and I’m sure young readers would pick up on that too.
Overall, this would be an excellent addition to any library serving 8-12 year olds. The story is interesting, relatable, funny and captivating. I read through the story very quickly and enjoyed the challenges that Maggie faces as she navigates through a new school, deals with a new allergy that turned her whole world upside-down, and starts a new friendship. It’s a lot for a middle schooler to deal with. I thought that the authors did a great job of explaining how allergies and allergen immunotherapy works so that it’s medically accurate, but not with so much detail that it bores readers. They manage to make the science interesting and informative. This could be a very useful teaching tool for educators as there aren’t a whole lot of books for this age group specifically on allergies, and that do such a good job of explaining them correctly.
Allergic: A Graphic Novel
By Megan Wagner Lloyd
Art by Michelle Mee Nutter
Title Details and Representation
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12
NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11), Tween (10-13)