Thursday, 10 November 2011

Freddy meets Isobel - the mouse who was allergic to milk

I spend a lot of time ignoring the fact that my daughter is allergic to milk, eggs, nuts, mustard, dust mites, horses and a bazillion pollens.  It’s quite easy really.  I make sure her food is safe, I bake cakes for her, I carry medication around and I spend a lot of time going ‘lalalalalalala.’


Because it is painful facing up to her allergies and the fact that she shows no signs of outgrowing them.  Every time she can’t have something and looks sad I feel a little bit depressed. 

When children shout across the playground, “You can’t have this because it’s got milk in!” I want to take them by the throat and snarl: “Do you have any idea how insensitive you are being?”     

Instead I give a yummy mummy smile laced with severe thoughts that might involve voodoo dolls and waterboarding.  

But although I try to ignore the allergies, I was really excited to read about Josie Warburton’s series of children’s books about food allergies.  Then I wondered if they would be macabre in some way.  Cartoon depictions of swollen eyes and a fairy wielding an auto-injector?

The answer is no to the swollen eyes and although an auto-injector is featured, it is called ‘magic medicine’ and looks nothing like an injector.  It’s also administered by the topless Mermaid Doctor who is actually pretty hot if you can get past his tail.  I would not mind at all if he showed up in an emergency.

I am digressing.

Josie kindly sent me a copy of ‘Freddy meets Isobel – The mouse who was allergic to milk’.  It tells the story of Freddy and Isobel going to the beach for the day and after an incident involving a mermaid – I won’t give away the plot – Isobel suffers an anaphylactic reaction and the Mermaid Doctor (fwoor!) is called.  There is no mention of anaphylaxis, but the story explains Isobel’s symptoms and thanks to the quick-thinking of both Freddy and the Mermaid, disaster is averted.

I had every intention of sitting down with my six-year-old and reading the story to her.  Instead as soon as I showed her the book she grabbed it and ran off to read it.  She came back looking very thoughtful.

“What do you think?” I asked. 
She smiled, “It made me feel happy because I’m not the only one with allergies.”

She then spent the next hour making a poster that showed Freddy and Isobel and we read the story again at bedtime. 

The following day she took the book to school and the teacher read it to her class.  Her classmates then asked questions about her allergies and the teacher felt it was a really useful discussion which allowed the children to discuss allergies in a natural, positive way.  My daughter was thrilled with all the attention and the opportunity to speak about her allergies and how they affect her.

And since then?  

All I’ve heard is:

“Mummy, when can you buy me ‘Freddy meets Ginger – The fox who was allergic to eggs?” 

“Mummy, have you ordered the Freddy book yet?”

“Mummy, have you done it yet? I really want the other Freddy book.”

Thanks for that Josie.

I love Josie’s book and how special it made my daughter feel.  I love that it is another step to raising allergy awareness and that it presents allergies as serious, yet manageable.  The book is a brilliant way for parents and teachers to talk openly about what it means to be allergic in a non-threatening, playful way.  

Stellar work Josie!

The book is available through  or via Josie's site: where international postage is available.  Josie has also written Freddy adventures that cover nut allergies, fish allergies and flying with allergies.

Do you want Josie to write another one? Contact her with your ideas via

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vintagemom said...

So cute! Have you read The Bugabees? Also a charming book for children with food allergies. My two younger sons read it over and over :)

Lisa @ Allergy Free Vintage Cookery

Pig in the Kitchen said...

I've not read The Bugabees, must Google! Thank-you.
Pig x

QB said...

Princess and the Peanut is also fab. Thanks for sharing, I'm going to look this one up!

Iota said...

Sounds like a great book.