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What's Up with Paulina? Medikidz Explain Food Allergy ISBN: 9781906935061
Chilman-Blair, Kim and Taddeo, John
Published by Medikidz Publishing, 2009
In this series of comics about health conditions and illnesses, the 'Medikidz' are a team of five superheroes who live in an alternative planet called 'Mediland', a place which is shaped like the human body. The team is made up of Axon, the brain specialist (and his pet robot Abacus, the brain on legs), Chi, the lung specialist, Skinderella, who knows all about skin and bones, Pump, the heart and blood expert, and Gastro, the expert on the digestive system (who is the joker and fart specialist!). The series is aimed precisely at kids, and the information therein is given in language that is easily understood; not only that, but because of the highly-coloured comic format, children will want to read it. The books are clever and funny and put lots of excellent, detailed information into an accessible read. Furthermore, the medical information, written by doctors, is peer reviewed by experts in the field.
When Paulina starts to have an anaphylactic reaction because she has eaten a peanut in her birthday cupcake, the Medikidz beam her and her friend Sofia up to Mediland. As Sofia is the one to have give her the peanut-ridden cake, Paulina is none too pleased, but the girls soon begin to learn about food allergies and what causes them. To find out about problems with the immune system, they head for the blood stream, where they meet white blood cells, specifically B cells, 'that drop bombs to blow up foreign invaders'. Paulina learns that the army of B cells knows to attack because invaders have 'antigens' that alert them, and the army is able to call up support troops that provide 'histamine' to widen the arteries. Unfortunately, when the always-hungry Gastro conjures up a peanut butter sandwich, the Mediland immune system gets confused and thinks peanuts are a germ; they overreact, causing an almighty allergic reaction. In the midst of battle, with the army firing histamines, the Medikidz and the two girls visit the heart, the skin, the lungs, and the stomach to see how the allergic reaction is affecting these organs, and Pump explains that in a mild allergic reaction, antihistamine medicines will help. However, the battle hots up, and when a new character appears on the scene, Anna Phylaxis, the kidz know that a 'multi-system' reaction has set in and that plenty of Adrenaline or Epinephrine is needed immediately. Axon melts down the evil Anna Phylaxis with his adrenaline shooter, and all is well. We learn that anaphylaxis causes 'fluid to leak out of blood vessels' and that is very serious indeed. Paulina is given a lesson in using an adrenaline or epi pen, and she gets information about skin tests and advice on being careful about what she eats. When the Medikidz send Sofia and Paulina home, they turn the clock back so that Paulina is able to have a peanut-free cupcake, thus averting anaphylaxis shock - and restoring friendship with Sofia!
Available from the publisher at The basic web site at offers lots more health information for children, as well as titles of many more of the comics in the series in a wide range of health and disability areas. Well worth a look.
Age: 10+