Friday, August 31, 2018


Peanuts and elephants go together like hotdogs and baseball. So what happens when an elephant is allergic to peanuts? It is a premise that the characters in EPPIE THE ELEPHANT find hard to believe. They joke "an elephant allergic to peanuts? This must be a prank!"

Unfortunately, like many children nowadays including my own daughter, Eppie really does have a food allergy to peanuts. This fictional elephant joins the approximately 6 million real life children in the United States (1 in 13) that have a food allergy.  For children suffering from this medical condition going to school can often be an intimidating experience filled with bullying, jokes, harassment, misunderstanding and exclusion by both students and teachers involving their food allergy. Our family has personally dealt with challenges which have ranged from kids in her school lunchroom harassing my daughter to try eating unsafe food in front of them to a teacher offering food that she couldn't eat as a class reward.  I noticed both my daughter and wife tearing up as they flipped through the pages of EPPIE THE ELEPHANT as it brought back some of these memories.

peanut allergy

Written by Livingston Crouse and illustrated by Steve Brown, EPPIE THE ELEPHANT is a children's picture book for preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary school aged kids that explores going to school for the first time with a food allergy.  Through charming illustrations and a tale told through rhymes and word play, the story of a student with a food allergy going to school for the first time is told in a relatable way for children to grasp promoting understanding and compassion about this topic.  Reading this book can provide encouragement for those with food allergies that they aren't alone and educate those who don't suffer from them what life is like from a different perspective in an entertaining, non-lecturing way.

With most class rooms now averaging one or two children with food allergies, I'd highly recommend teachers consider EPPIE THE ELEPHANT as a book to be included in their story time reading list. May is Food Allergy Awareness Month … hint, hint.   Parents, with its colorful imagery and meaningful message, EPPIE THE ELEPHANT also makes for a great bedtime story to add to your home library of children's books.

childrens book

In this story, it is the first day of school for Eppie the elephant and she's nervous that her classmates won't understand her allergy to nuts. Will they understand why she can't partake in peanuts and has to be careful about what she eats? Eppie quickly makes some great friends in Allie the alligator and Pearl the squirrel. But when lunchtime comes around and they sit together Allie pulls out a pb&j sandwich and Pearl starts snacking on a bag of peanuts.

picture book

Off goes Eppie to eat alone and watch her friends having lunch fun during lunch from the "Nut-Free" zone.  Making things worse her friends laugh and joke about the allergy. Embarrassed and sad, Eppie worries she will spend the rest of the school year without any playmates.  What happens next? You'll need to read the book to find out... though I will say it has a heart-warming ending.

childrens picture book

Published by Silver Dolphin Books, EPPIE THE ELEPHANT is available to buy from Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble. This hardcover picture book is 40 pages full of wonderful drawings. For addressing a sensitive topic that hits close to home in a caring and considerate way, EPPIE THE ELEPHANT has earned A GEEK DADDY nod of approval.  For more information about food allergies please visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's Kids With Food Allergies website or contact FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education).

book review

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