Asa's Sick Day

There’s nothing on Asa’s Sick Day to amuse a healthy child, and precious little to help a sick one. Psychologist Gail Feldman’s health tips sound like the advice you hear on a good cold-capsule commercial: drink liquids, cover your nose when you sneeze. Still, they’re better than her storytelling, which is awkward and amateurish in the extreme.

An elephant named Asa is sick in bed. A couple of elves come to his aid. They dance, they sing, they lecture. When Asa says, ”I feel rotten,” Lep (short for leprechaun) says, ”Apples rot. Vegetables rot. You do not rot. We’re going to have to work on your attitude.”

The second half of Asa’s Sick Day is devoted to attitude training. Some of it, like instruction in relaxation techniques, is healthy. So is mental imaging to block out pain. So is ”Breathe in good feelings, breathe out pain,” her Lamaze-like exercise for coping with a virus. But Feldman also goes so far as to tell impressionable kids, ”if you have a fever, imagine yourself in cool water, nice cool water. Let your body begin to feel cooler and cooler, bringing your fever down.” This well-meaning advice seems flimsy at best, and confusing to a feverish tot. C

Asa's Sick Day
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