Book Review: The BugyBops: Friends for All Time

This book is a sequel to one of our favorite books, The BugaBees: Friends With Food Allergies (amazon affiliate link).  I’ve mentioned the BugaBees here on my blog, reviewed it for Veg Books, and included it in my my roundup of great food allergy books for young kids over on the SunButter blog.  So you can imagine we were really excited to hear that author Amy Recob had teamed up with 64 Colors for a new book!

The BugyBops: Friends for All Time (amazon affiliate link) is geared for not only food allergic families, but those without food allergies that act to support their food allergic friends.  I entered just about every contest I could find when the book was released during Food Allergy Awareness Week and as luck would have it I won two copies of the book, both personalized by the author.  E instantly said, upon seeing the little sketch and note in her book, that she had to write a thank you card which I thought was so sweet (Ms. Recob, if you’re reading this, I’ll get the card in the mail soon!).  Thank you to the BugaBees Blog and Avoiding Milk Blog for your giveaways of the book, E is so excited to give her extra copy to her friend K who also has multiple food allergies.

The book did not disappoint, it was just as polished and well written as the previous book in the series and I hope we get to see more of these cute little characters in the future.  

Who are the “BugyBops” you may ask?  They are the friends that help the food allergic BugaBees stay safe.  If you haven’t read the first book this book still makes sense on its own.  We see little ladybug (a BugaBee) having an epinephrine injector put in a backpack while the book let’s us know that:

These special shots of medicine they must bring everywhere.

Certain foods can make them sick, so they take extra care.

Not to eat or touch the foods that they’re allergic to,

But EpiPens can save their lives if they accidentally do.

In the wake of the FDA warning letter to the manufacturer of EpiPens over their recent ad campaign, I really liked this passage of the book because it characterizes the appropriate use of EpiPens while still emphasizing avoidance as a first line defense.

Other things the BugyBops do for their friends to keep them safe in the book include washing their hands, choosing safe foods, not teasing, and calling for a grown-up if there’s an emergency.  I like that the idea of giving kids phrases like “Our friend is sick, we need some help, find a grown-up right away!” to make their own was continued from the BugaBees in to this book.  Nut free tables, wiping water fountains, an iPad, and a chair are depicted to “help stop the spread of cross-contamination.”  All the bugs seem cheerful as they do these activities which I appreciated.

We’re planning a camping trip so E was especially interested in the pages about that scenario – including details about asking ahead about safe foods and keeping unsafe foods away.  Some of the bugs are shown roasting marshmallows while others look at shooting stars.  I’ve been meaning to try a safe, vegan, marshmallow recipes Elizabeth Goldenberg of OneSpot Allergy emailed to me (the vegan varieties have soy and we don’t eat meat so gelatin is out) before we go on our trip.  Fingers crossed that one of them works!

Visiting an art gallery, treats during holidays, and just being together and having fun are also featured in the book along with 8 supplemental pages of “Activities and Talking Points” that cover signs of reactions, true/false questions, and details on how to inject an EpiPen.

I like a lot of detail about books, especially considering that most food allergy books are not available at local libraries, so I hope this review has been helpful.  Feel free to ask questions in the comments but I highly recommend both The BugyBops: Friends for All Time (amazon affiliate link) and The BugaBees: Friends With Food Allergies (amazon affiliate) for food allergic families and their friends.