The Ultimate Children’s Health Reference Book

Since the advent of Google, I have determined that I have a brain tumor, melanoma, viral pneumonia, seasonal affective disorder, and fifth’s disease.  Don’t even get me started on what ailments I have projected onto my kids.  Admit it, we are all guilty of self-diagnosing.  We think that we’re doctors never mind the years of schooling and practical experience under the tutelage of a mentor that we lack.  With the exception of the fifth’s disease I have been, shockingly, wrong with my doctoring (the jury is still out on the SAD).

Step away from the keyboard and pick up, The A to Z of Children’s Health: A parent’s guide from birth to 10 years.  It is without a doubt the best resource a parent can have at their fingertips. It’s a comprehensive guide written by Dr. Jeremy Friedman and Dr. Natasha Saunders of the world-renowned Hospital For Sick Children.

More than 235 childhood conditions and illnesses are arranged alphabetically and described clearly and concisely with full colour illustrations. The advice offered is practical and current, nothing superfluous or condescending.

In the past two months I have used The A to Z of Children’s Health more than any other parenting resource.  That’s either a rousing endorsement of its usefulness or a dismal reflection on the health and well-being of my family.

How to treat an ingrown toenail?  Is this a cough that I should be worried about?  What is the difference between primary enuresis (bed-wetting) and secondary enuresis?

All of these questions are answered.

Do you remember when you were new to this parenting thing, and you were more invested in your baby’s poo than you’d ever imagined was possible?  Well, they answer all of those questions too and pictures of the various types of diaper rashes accompany at-home treatments and explanations.

It’s rare that I come across a reference book I feel is worth spending money on but The A to Z of Children’s Health is the exception.  So much do I like it, I plan on adding it to my go-to list of gifts for first time parents.


A Review of Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures

imgres-1For some reason, lately I’ve been breaking my standard rule to avoid reading parenting books.  This has mostly been uneventful, but there’s been one happy exception to this, and that’s when Parenting:  Illustrated with Crappy Pictures by Amber Dusick landed in my lap for review.

The book was born from Dusick’s great blog and, in a word, is hilarious.  She basically takes the daily trials of little children, draws them up, and conveys  aggravation.  But it’s the amused as opposed to anguished variety, easy to relate to, and light.  She also peppers her vignettes of sucky parenting moments with the opium of the magical ones, and all is well throughout her book.

I’m not sure how her line and colour patches can convey so much – she will literally draw a line to represent an arm – but somehow her stick figures do just this.  Here is one of my favourite sketches, about aging one year before children (top set of pics on left page) and aging one year after children (bottom set of pics on left page):


Firstly, I so relate to the aging that occurred the *moment* I had kids.  But also, I love how much Dusick communicates by the addition of a few wee lines in the “after children” set of pics.  (I leave it to you to decipher what the before and after kids pics on the right page refer to.)

Generally there is a little accompanying text to crappy pictures in the book, but it’s more like an adult cartoon book than anything.  As Beth-Anne noted when she saw it, “I could read that [whole] book in the bathtub”.

It took me a little longer than that to get through it, but not much.  And it was the good kind of getting through: I was reluctant to put the book down, eager to pick it back up again, and sorry when it was done.  Luckily, Dusick’s blog has tons more new material, and that’s where readers should go if they need a crappy picture parenting fix.

As a light, run summer read?  Perfect.