Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Book Review: Malcolm Finney, Medical Detective: The Case of Itch and Rash, by Erika Kimble

Recently, I took my children to a local attraction, and a woman who was directing traffic in the parking lot had a large red splotch on her face. Not surprisingly, my son Caleb nudged me and asked, “What’s wrong with her face?” Fortunately, I had read, Malcolm Finney, Medical Detective: The Case of Itch and Rash, and knew that this type of curiosity is common with children. This book is part of a growing series that helps parents and educators explain “diseases and variations in the human body” to curious children.

In this first book in the series, we meet Malcolm, a fourth-grader who loves science just like his dad, an inventor. When he rescues his neighbor, Carlita, from a swarm of bees, he discovers that she has a mysterious rash on her arms. Malcolm collects evidence by questioning Carlita about the rash, as well as a physical examination. Then he takes her to his “Mad Scientists Laboratory” at the science museum where his dad works. Carlita puts her arm in the “Intelli-Goo” machine for further investigation of her rash! After scanning her skin, Malcolm and Carlita are sucked inside to examine the various layers (hypodermis, dermis, and epidermis). They also meet some very interesting characters inside her skin. After examining the evidence, Malcolm determines that Carlita has eczema (or atopic dermatitis). Fortunately, Malcolm’s mom is a physician and can offer advice on how to treat Carlita’s condition, just in time for her performance in Swan Lake!

This fun adventure is chock full of medical terms that are explained in a very kid-friendly way. A treatment guide for eczema is also included at the end of the book, as well as a list of resources to help kids be medical detectives like Malcolm! I love how this book explains a potentially complicated diagnosis in a fun way through characters that kids can relate to. Learn more about Malcolm Finney, Medical Detective: The Case of Itch and Rash and upcoming books in this series by Erika Kimble, a certified nurse practitioner, at Visit the author on Facebook and Twitter, too!

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