Little Doctor and the Fearless Beast

Sophie Gilmore. Owlkids, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-77147-344-6
Little Doctor is a girl with rosy cheeks, brown hair, and a white lab coat, and her clinic’s population is made up of crocodiles. She removes their splinters and frees them from snares, and in return they entertain her with legends of “terrible danger, dizzying escapes, and acts of great mischief.” With delicate lines, debut author Gilmore imagines Little Doctor’s tidy working space and the different ways she cares for the reptiles, who are portrayed both sympathetically and without sentiment. One day, Big Mean appears at Little Doctor’s clinic, fierce and massive, her jaw clamped shut. The girl does her best to diagnose the trouble, but it takes some doing—and a moment of terror—before her treatment wins praise from Big Mean herself. Gilmore’s breezy tone keeps scariness at bay (“But moments passed, and she was not munched nor crunched”), and her illustrations are at once dreamy and believable. The conceit of a primary school–aged child who is already a seasoned medical professional provides charm from the outset, and Little Doctor’s bravery comes from wisdom and kindness. Another quiet lesson concerns the threat that humans pose to wild animals. Ages 5–8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/17/2018
Release date: 03/15/2019
Genre: Children's
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