Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
I made the purchase of Germs! Germs! Germs! in February of 2002 through amazon. Since that time it has continued to be a favorite book of Nicholas's, even at the age of ten. The germs illustrations presented by Steve Bjorkman are amusing, consisting of strange looking creatures in pastel colors, reminding me of characters from the television show Sponge Bob Square Pants. The hands on the girls and boys in Germs!Germs!Germs! appear oddly shaped, as noted by the way the girl is holding the pencil on the cover.
Consisting of thirty-eight pages the Germs! Germs! Germs! motto throughout the book centers on, " We’re on the ground. We’re in the air. We’re GERMS and we live everywhere!" Although germs cannot be seen, unless through a microscope they are still strong and mean. The drawing shows these rather odd sorted creatures with one or two eyes hovering about waiting for the right opportunity to spread Germs! Germs! Germs! on anyone.
One silly illustration has a yellow germ arriving at the front door, although no mention on how germs can be found on doorknobs. Germs! Germs! Germs! is more a book about what happens when the germs enter our body and reminds the reader of how germs jump about making people sick. Nicholas learned at the age of seven from the book, ""Germs are so nasty that they make you sick with a tummy ache and a cold".
It is possible that these illustrations along with the story can accomplish quick tooth brushing skills along with the use of tissues and proper hygiene. My son will grab Germs! Germs! Germs! to explain to a visitor how their germs can spread on clothing or furniture if that person has sneezed in his presence. This copy of the book has been to his classroom a few times to share with them just how mean germs can be as well as make you worse when you are sick.
Another illustration shows the germs scaring a boy wanting to get inside him, “ Knock-knock, body. Let us in! We’ll make you sick once we begin!” There are ways to keep the germs away though by using soap and water, fresh air and sunshine. On top of a kitchen counter are several plastic containers with lids with the Germs! Germs! Germs! trying their best to get the lids off. Some of the germs are flies as well and the looks on the faces show how unhappy they are.
When they come across a closed refrigerator door they line up with picket signs protesting they want inside. The text is amusing in a rhyming fashion, "Brushes, brooms, mops, detergents – let’s leave, germs. It’s getting urgent." This is written in a way with friendly reminders on what to do to combat germs without being overly critical in nature. The point is clearly presented in an understandable way for the beginning reader to follow.
There is a boy that has fallen but the germs arrived quickly to mix colorful displays on the cut knee while another germ dumps the dust from a tray after sweeping while holding the broom. One of the Germs! Germs! Germs! is smoothing the purple mixture from the pail with yet another germ positioning a bow and arrow at the mark. Well I would hate to have an impressionable child think this is all what happens when they get a black and blue mark but the message is clear by the look on the boys face that this infection hurts. There is another cut on his arm that has been overlooked.
I believe it would be up to the reader to understand that the next step would be to clean the area before applying a bandage. The remaining page shows what other kids do that spread germs, like the nose picker and the pencil chewer. There is also a girl wiping her nose with her hand and a boy sucking on his finger while holding his ice cream cone.
I would say this is more of an interactive book with explanations needed throughout the pages of Germs! Germs! Germs! This is written from the perspective of the germ and how without preventative measures they will quickly prey on your body trying to get inside and spread disease. Nicholas will immediately want a bandage on any small cut so the germs will not get him. Recently at school he fell down when playing basketball and insisted on a bandage. He watched the cut daily on his knee reporting how it looked until the day it was invisible.
Germs! Germs! Germs! is a handy book for Nicholas, who has learned a great deal from reading and following the journey these outrageously looking germs make through the pages. This makes a good introductory book for the age group of six to eight.
Nicholas has many Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) tendencies. Two summers ago he burned his hand on a hot plate at the summer autism day camp. To this day he will not go near the stove when something is on the stovetop or inside the oven.
This article was adapted from a review previously published on Epinions
This article is part of the themed series mentioned in The Interests of children with autism through the years
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