Thursday, April 13, 2017

Review: Sammy's Broken Leg (Oh, No!) and the Amazing Cast That Fixed It by Judith Wolf Mandell

by Judith Wolf Mandell
Illustrated by Lise C. Brown
Harpeth Ridge Press
Picture Book
ages 4+

One minute your child is fine. The next minute, a broken bone. Hours later, in a clunky cast. For weeks or months, sidelined from favorite activities. If your child is like Sammy, (s)he gets glum and grumpy as days slog by.

Help is pages away in Sammy's Broken Leg (Oh, No!) and the Amazing Cast That Fixed It , a whimsical book to entertain a child in a cast for healing a broken bone, or in a spica cast for hip correction (hip dysplasia).

Children in a cast will delight in a troupe of Kisses who cheer for Sammy and coach her to be patient. The Kisses are Sammy's secret: only she can hear them. How and when they whooshed into her life will amaze and amuse.

It all goes to prove: One Kiss for a Boo-Boo. A Bazillion Kisses for a Cast!

Lavished with colorful, quirky illustrations, Sammy's Broken Leg (Oh, No!) and the Amazing Cast That Fixed It is entertaining, educational and encouraging. The book:

Gives children and families realistic expectations about weeks or months of healing time. Eases children's fears, calms parents' anxieties. Hands parents a tool to boost their child's (and their own) patience.


This is a niche book, and the author does state that she wrote this book, since she couldn't find one to read to her own granddaughter, who landed in a ginormous cast. With that in mind, it is a sweet, comforting tale.

Sammy bounces on the trampoline, falls off and ends up with a broken thigh. To make sure it heals properly, the doctors place her in a partial body cast for four weeks.

Sammy is a spirited, lively character and a ball of sunshine. It's easy to feel for her when she ends up on the couch and is unable to move or do any of those wonderful things she did before. While being quirky and fun, this book doesn't put on rose colored glasses, but rather exposes how uncomfortable, irritating and frustrating such a cast can be for a kid. Still, the message is clear--things get better and life is still worth a smile.

The text is easy to read and varied to bring across the different emotions and situations in exciting ways, great for ages 3+. There are small moments of love sprinkled in, which keep the whole thing filled with warm, fuzzy feelings. Details on the particular problems which occur and things to look out for are also presented, which make it clear what situation this book is written for. I believe kids who are moping with this exact problem will relate well.

The illustrations are colorful, lively and have cute details added in. The style is more of a hand-drawn one, not exact and reminding of a child's sketch. But this seems to be the point. My own daughter did complain about one or two character depictions, but in general, she enjoyed flipping through.

Summed up, this is a warm, cheerful and encouraging read aimed for a very specific audience, and for this case, it works well. Parents, grandparents, caretakers and kids in this situation are sure to enjoy this tale.

The whimsical book is for glum, grumpy kids in a clunky cast for a broken arm or leg, or to fix hip dysplasia. Created by grandmother/author Judith Wolf Mandell, and illustrated by Lise C. Brown, the book was inspired by her granddaughter's mostly miserable month in a spica (chest-to-ankle) cast to heal a broken thigh bone (femur) when she was 2.

Mandell vowed to create a book that would be entertaining, encouraging and educational. Sammy's Broken Leg...

·      gives families realistic expectations for a long recovery; and
·      gives kids a secret source of patience and power, a troupe of kisses that cheer Sammy on as the days slog by. How and when The Kisses whoosh into her life will amuse and amaze.

Lavished with bright, quirky illustrations, this book is recommended by experts for young children recovering from the emotional and physical upset of life interrupted by a cast.  Nicholas Ettinger, M.D., a pediatrician, calls it "A loving story of a little girl's broken leg and recovery that is informative and medically accurate."

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