REVIEW: The Moose with Loose Poops by Dr. Charlotte Cowan

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Diarrhea and vomiting have been far too frequent since our move to China that I find Dr. Charlotte Cowan’s “The Moose with Loose Poops (Dr. Hippo)” a useful book to read with my toddler.

The-Moose-with-Loose-Poops-Charlotte-CowanA board-certified Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a mother and a former English teacher, Dr. Cowan

“offers a clear and childfriendly explanation of gastroenteritis…she captures the misery of tummy aches, caused first by vomiting and then by diarrhea, and writes to educate, entertain and comfort her small readers—as well as their parents.”

The Moose with Loose Poops” begins with Miles the Moose and his family on a camping trip and discussion about his upcoming canoe ride and fishing expedition when he develops a stomachache and vomits out his food.

Poor Miles is put into pyjamas, tucked into bed, read two books and given two drinks. He feels better the next day but gets diarrhea or “pooped a waterfall”.

Later, Mama Moose calls up the pediatrician to check that whatever she’s doing is just what the doctor ordered.

The book has a happy ending with Miles and Papa Moose going off on their canoe ride and camping under a beautiful night sky of shooting stars.

The toddler enjoyed reading the book because it had fun and familiar images he could relate to:

  • sausages,
  • a canoe (and the moose after I mentioned that they were also in Disney’s “Brother Bear“),
  • getting a stomachache, throwing out food, being carried by Mummy, wearing pyjamas,
  • a set of trains in the room!!!
  • reading in bed,
  • sitting on the toilet,
  • washing hands carefully with soap and water and
  • hanging out with Papa.

It’s also the first book that uses “Papa” instead of “Daddy”, which caught his attention (I changed Mama to “Mummy” for convenience). He knew the word “vomit” but learned “diarrhea”.

Since he’s only 3, I think he was confused by the words “poop”, which he associates with Popeye the Sailorman’s “poop, poop!” at the of his theme song, “waterfall”, which he knows is a natural phenomena and “throw up”, which is too idiomatic for a child his age.

Nevertheless, he loved the hand washing song because “splash” and “Hooray!” are among his favourite words now :-)

As a mother, I thought that the story of Miles is a timely one for kids especially as someone else is having an upset tummy. Kids also learn general hygiene like washing hands carefully with soap.

I love the handy leaflet guide or FAQs, which had sections like:

  • How will I know that my child has gastroenteritis?
  • What is gastroenteritis?
  • When should I worry/call the doctor? (thanks for including temperatures in deg Celcius!)
  • How can I help my child feel better? (useful notes on food and drink for babies, toddlers and preschoolers)

The key message of fluids for stomach flu was slightly buried under the pediatrician’s exclamation “Apples are perfect!”. Perhaps Dr. Cowan would like to highlight this in bigger, bold font in the next edition?

Dr. Cowan has four other books for parents dealing with childhood illnesses like a fever, a cold, an earache and a sore throat. I know I would love to have “Sadie’s Sore Throat (Dr. Hippo)“!

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