Author: Sherry Frith
Illustrator: Carol Newell Walter
Publication Date: July 31, 2013
Publisher: Archway Publishing
Recommended Ages: 4+
Reviewed by: Renee (Mother)
There are 30,000 children each year diagnosed and battling cystic fibrosis. There is no cure for this progressive disease.
Sticky Icky Booger Bugs is the tale of a boy’s battle with cystic fibrosis as he attempts to avoid the hospital. Kory is just like any other child. He loves recess, playing soccer and exploring his neighborhood with his best friend. With every puff, cough, and sneeze, Kory keeps the sticky icky booger bugs away so he can have fun every day!
My Thoughts: Don’t let the silly title of this picture book fool you. Sticky Icky Booger Bugs delves into a serious topic – cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is a disease affecting roughly 30,000 children in the United States every year. This progressive and incurable disease affects lung function, the digestive system, as well as other parts of the body. Most people with cystic fibrosis are diagnosed as children and their future is bleak. For those who live into adulthood, their average life expectancy is 37 years of age. This represents a dramatic increase over the past few decades.
Sticky Icky Booger Bugs follows a day in the life of a boy with cystic fibrosis, Kory. In many ways, he is like every other young boy. Kory likes to play soccer, play video games, and hang out with his friends. However, we also learn that because of cystic fibrosis, his daily life is filled interventions designed to lessen his symptoms, and ultimately extend his life. I must admit that I did not know much about this disease and was shocked to learn that in a typical day, Kory must take medication with every meal to facilitated digestion; he must use two different kinds of inhalers, a machine which shakes the mucus loose in the lungs and airways (literally called “the shaker”); and he also uses a salt wash in the shower every day. I loved the balance between describing how Kory copes with his condition and describing a boy who strives to maintain some normalcy in his life.
This topic is very dear to the author’s heart as two of her sons, Kory and Kevin, were diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as young children. She wrote Sticky Icky Booger Bugs for her sons to help them explain the condition they suffer from and to help educate other children about cystic fibrosis as well. I think using the concept of “sticky icky booger bugs” to describe the abnormal production of mucus in the lungs, airways, and other parts of the body (i.e., the primary characteristic of cystic fibrosis) is a great fit for kids (especially boys). My 7 year-old son thought it was great!
I think the cover of the book is very eye-catching. I love the extra-large font used for the title and the small collection of “boogers” that show diverse emotions, including the “evil-looking” one at the very top. The boogers are the villains in the story after all! I thought the illustrations were excellent and that they clearly portrayed all of the medical interventions discussed in the book (i.e., inhalers, the shaker, medications, etc.). I noticed that the illustrator has her signature on each of the individual illustrations. I have never seen that before and thought that was a bit unusual.
My Bottom Line: Sticky Icky Booger Bugs is an excellent non-fiction picture book which educates children about the life-threatening disease, cystic fibrosis. This wonderful book is fact-filled and centers around a boy who has to deal with the reality of living with cystic fibrosis. The author does an outstanding job in providing a balance between helping children understand all the things the boy has to do to be able to function with this disease and with portraying him as a typical young boy who goes to school, plays with his friends, and hangs out at home with his family. I think the potential for teaching children compassion for other children who are gravely ill is very high and I highly recommend this book for primary school teachers in particular. Ages 4+
* This book was provided to us by the author free-of-charge in exchange for our honest review. *
About the Author and Illustrator:
Sherry Frith is the mother of three boys and the founder of Helping Hearts, a nonprofit organization. She has patents and copyrights pending in various areas and lives each day full of new ideas and grace. Sherry lives in Bakersfield, California with her sons – Kyle, Kevin, and Kory.
Illustrator Carol Newell Walter majored in fine arts at Wayne State University and earned a BA and teaching credentials from California State University – Bakersfield. Now retired, Carol and her husband live in Bakersfield California where she continues to create all kinds of artwork.
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