When “Juliette and the Mystery Bug” was first published, it quickly became the go-to reference for parents and teachers who wanted to help children learn the key habits of personal safety in a pandemic world. Brilliantly illustrated by Casey Ratchford and poetically told by thriller author, Terry Shepherd, the story, “helped explain what could easily be a scary subject in a gentle, fun way.” The demand for a second story, addressing the hows and whys of masking and social distancing, lead to “Juliette and the Masked Hero”. Both books were based on the solid recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and found their way into classrooms and living rooms across the country.
This volume combines both books under a single cover, a complete reference for both home and classroom. In combination with Mystery-Bug.com, a website filled with lesson plans, videos, downloads and links to additional resources, “The Mystery Bug Collection” has become the go-to reference for anyone who wants to give their kids the skills, habits and attitudes necessary to stay safe and healthy in a time when “Mystery Bugs” are everywhere.
Juliette is an inquisitive young girl, especially when it comes to the bugs that make people sick. In Juliette and the Mystery Bug, Juliette’s brother Hudson begins sneezing and has a fever, so their mother takes him to see the doctor. There, Juliette and her family learn more about how germs make people sick and how proper hand washing and behavior can help prevent the spread of any illness. After appropriate time and rest, Hudson’s health improves and he can once again go outside to play with his friends.
Juliette and the Masked Hero introduces the face mask that transforms people into superheroes by protecting themselves and others from the microscopic germs that float through the air. Although initially hesitant, Juliette ultimately dons her mask with pride and is especially happy to see her neighbors wearing matching masks. When people all work together, mystery bugs like the germs Juliette encounters in these stories will no longer have the opportunity to spread.
Dr. Seuss-esque meter and rhyming couplets form a familiar landscape for the recounting of these stories. A blend of familiar vocabulary and small blocks of text make these stories accessible to even very young readers. Best to be read aloud by an adult caregiver, both of these stories help children of all ages better understand the concept of germs and how to protect themselves and others.
Large, colorful illustrations dominate each spread, highlighting Juliette’s white family and her multicultural community. Each book features a spread instructing readers about the primary focus of that story: Juliette and the Mystery Bug teaches proper hand washing technique, and Juliette and the Masked Hero highlights the step-by-step process of creating a face mask at home.
An author’s note at the beginning of the books shares the research done to ensure that readers are learning factually correct information in an accessible format. The length, style, and presentation of these books help young children better comprehend the nuances of illnesses and germs in a world ravaged by a global pandemic. These are great additions to library collections for children that feature stories about community health and safety.
My career has focused on children’s literature, primarily, but I have a love for YA books, too. I began reviewing books in 2015, since which time I have had over 500 published reviews!
I primarily write reviews, but will create video reviews like this upon request: https://youtu.be/9MQx-u_NFI8