Tuesday 19 October 2021


Allergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter (Scholastic) ISBN 978176128523 PB RRP $17.99

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

This middle-grade graphic novel is about Maggie and her search for the ‘perfect pet’. The story begins with Maggie going to get a puppy on her birthday, only to discover she is allergic to animal fur and feathers. Her mother is pregnant, her younger twin brothers live in a world of their own and Maggie must start a new school where she doesn’t know anyone. So, when the pet doesn’t work out, Maggie is devastated. The story follows Maggie’s journey as she works out how to adapt to new situations and learns what she is really searching for.

The graphic novel format works well and there are a lot of detail in the pictures to add depth to the text. Chapter five shows two houses side by side ˗ Maggie’s and her friend Claire’s ˗ drawn like doll houses with the fronts open, so everything inside can be seen. The images of Maggie’s allergies that accompany the information included about allergy testing and injections, look really itchy. The pages showing Maggie’s mum, pregnant and doing yoga in the middle of her husband cooking breakfast and her twin sons throwing balls around the house, are particularly good. Also effective is showing how the succession of pets that Maggie tries out are crossed off a list one by one.  

At the root of Maggie’s problem is that she doesn’t know how she will fit into the family when the new baby comes, but this is resolved nicely in the end. Maggie steps up and becomes a big sister, realising there are things more important, and better, than having the perfect pet.

Megan Wagner Lloyd is a US author who has previously published a couple of picture books: Finding Wild and Fort Building Time. Her graphic novel with Michelle Mee Nutter is an enjoyable coming of age story for children aged 8-12 years.

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