If there’s one thing we should all be able to agree on in 2020, it’s that healthcare workers the world over have been real-life heroes during the COVID-19 crisis. If you’d like to celebrate their hard work during the holidays and encourage kids to do the same, History Heroes and Macmillan have some products to help you do just that.
Please note: This post contains affiliate links.
Medicine Makers Jigsaw from History Heroes
History Heroes have been one of my favorite educational game brands for several years now and I have reviewed their products several times. This year they have turned their hands to jigsaws and released their first puzzle: Medicine Makers.
The Medicine Makers jigsaw is 500 pieces, made from 100% recycled and sustainable cardboard, and measures 48cm x 35cm when completed. I found the pieces to be of fantastic quality easily comparable to big-name jigsaw companies like Ravensburger and Gibsons, they were thick, didn’t bend, and fitted together well.
The design of this puzzle is a brightly colored timeline covering the mid-1700s to the 1950s. The timeline itself is a double helix shape that curves around the puzzle listing numerous dates inside its structure while important facts are listed beside them. These are largely related to medicine as you would imagine, but other important events and inventions also get a mention including the World Wars, Edison’s invention of the lightbulb, and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. As this is a puzzle developed in Britain, UK events are featured more prominently – the Empire Windrush and the birth of the NHS are both included – and there is a clear Western slant to everything, I didn’t spot anything that happened outside of Western Europe and North America unless you count the Crimean War.
Scattered along the timeline are 14 more prominently featured History Heroes and their accomplishments. These include “1798 Edward Jenner invents the smallpox vaccine”, “1874 Elizabeth Garrett Anderson opens the London School of medicine for Women”, and “1952 Rosalind Franklin’s X-ray photographs of DNA’s structure”. Each of these is fully illustrated in the cartoon style of History Heroes and more small illustrations are scattered across the puzzle making the whole thing fun to look at – there’s nothing gory or gross here despite the subject matter – and also making it easy to solve as there are so many different little areas to work on.
This puzzle was a joy to work on and only took me a handful of hours making it perfect for a family to work on together without getting frustrated. I really hope we see more puzzles from History Heroes and I already have a mental list of subjects I’d love them to give this treatment to! For now, Medicine Makers will make an ideal gift this holiday season and if you order direct from the website before Friday, November 13th, you can take 15% off using the code CC2020.
The Hospital Dog by Julia Donaldson, Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie
Even if you don’t know her by name, you’re almost certainly aware of Julia Donaldson’s work. A prolific children’s author, she’s behind such modern classics and The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, and Stick Man – all of which have been turned into animated specials. Her latest book, The Hospital Dog, was inspired by a visit she took to a children’s ward at Evelina Children’s Hospital in London where she watched a real therapy dog named Nala and her owner Sandy having a powerful and positive impact on the children on the ward.
In The Hospital Dog, we meet a dalmatian named Dot who is a regular visitor to the children’s ward at her local hospital along with her owner Rose. Dot helps cheer up all the children on the ward including a crying baby, a scared young girl, and a bored teenager. After leaving the ward that day, Dot spots an impending disaster and leaps to the rescue but is injured herself in the process. Unable to leave home for a while, Dot herself is now the one feeling miserable and bored, but she has a surprise waiting for her…
This was an incredibly sweet book with a touching subject matter that was handled in an upbeat and fun way. Reading about Dot will be reassuring for any youngsters facing an impending hospital stay, and I’d love to think this story may encourage more pet owners to sign up their pets as therapy animals and increase the number of these wonderful and highly beneficial visitors.
As usual Donaldson’s writing is outstanding, the rhymes and structure flow beautifully when spoken aloud making this a perfect bedtime read. The illustrations from Sara Ogilvie are equally beautiful, filled with diverse faces and incredible vibrancy, I wanted to reach out and stroke the adorable Dot on every page.
This is another brilliant book from one of my favorite children’s authors who continues to produce incredible stories every time she puts pen to paper.
GeekMom received copies of these items for review purposes.