A Pox On It! Leopardpox by Orna Laudau
SADIE SAID, "I CAN'T GO TO KINDERGARTEN TODAY."
"WHAT'S THE MATTER?" MOM ASKED.
"I DON'T KNOW," SAID SADIE. "I JUST FEEL FUNNY."
Sadie's little cough roughens into a sort of rumble, her fingernails tingle and grow long and longer. And before she can say more, her teeth begin to grow sharp and sharper. Spots appear all over.
"A LEOPARD!" CRIED MOM.
SADIE HAD LEOPARDPOX!
The good news is that Sadie is now feeling ready to romp. The bad new is that she quickly wrecks her room and moves on to the living room.
"I'M NOT SURE THEY WILL LET HER INTO KINDERGARTEN LIKE THIS," (SAYS HER BROTHER, WITH SCARCELY VEILED IRONY.)
A trip to the pediatrician turns out badly, when the doc suggests they try a veterinarian. The veterinarian pronounces Sadie a very healthy young leopard, as she bounces around the exam room, but wonders aloud why anyone would bring in a healthy cub.
"THERE ARE LOTS OF LITTLE GIRLS, BUT THIS IS A VERY CUTE AND SPECIAL LEOPARD," HE REMARKS.
Brother Ben suggests that they try the zoo, but the sight of Sadie in the big cat compound is more than Mom can bear.
So Sadie, still as bouncy and rambunctious as Tigger, goes home, where plenty of motherly TLC seems to begin to work a cure. Sadie loses her spots and her claws. Her teeth do seem to look less sharp, and Sadie soon begins to look like the cute and special girl her mom knows her to be.
So all's well that ends well? Not exactly.
As Mom and Sadie snuggle down together at bedtime, Mom says...
"YOU KNOW WHAT? I FEEL KINDA FUNNY...."
Orna Laudau's Leopardpox! (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014) is a rollicking fanciful romp through a very unusual sick day. Omer Huffman's illustrations pick up all the nuances of this comical tale, from Sadie's older brother's annoyed looks, to the befuddled pediatrician, reluctant to admit he hasn't a clue, to the vet who insists that Sadie is perfectly fine just the way she is, right down to the zookeeper, delighted with the idea of a fine and free new exhibit. A fine sick day read for a young patient, and sure giggle bait for early graders, read this one with David Small's classic, Imogene's Antlers (Reading Rainbow Books) and Florence Parry Heide's terrific tongue-in-cheek oldie but goodie, The Shrinking of Treehorn, (illustrated brilliantly by none other than Edward Gorey) for some deliciously silly sick-day stories.