From the very first pages, this book immerses young readers in the experience of suddenly having to go to the hospital. A girl suffering from appendicitis shares with honest immediacy that "when I first went to the hospital, I cried nine times." She's pictured with a cartoon bubble of "OW OW OW!" above her. All around her are the fabulous details that make the work of NYTimes bestselling author, illustrator, and cartoonist Lisa Brown beloved: a toy ambulance, a game of Operation that the girl had been playing with a friend, her brother charging out of the room calling for a grown-up to help, an adorable dog looking up at her with sympathetic dismay.

These kinds of details continue on every page. Some are funny and random, like a young man greeting Dr. Zhivago on the sidewalk outside E.R.. Others are touching, like the badge that the girl gets for being brave, "even though I cried" and the kindness of a nurse who helps her understand all the intake procedures. Other details are simply candid, like the girl getting a popsicle after her operation and throwing it up while a nurse consolingly says, "That happens all the time."

Our young patient does not gloss over crying because her new room smells funny and nurses keep coming in to check on her, nor that she feels lonely even though her father is asleep on a fold-out bed next to her. When she walks around the hallway with her IV, she meets someone her height who's bald and says, "Hi! This is my third time here, how about you?" That's a big dose of perspective!

Whether a child in your life is headed to the hospital for the first time, has been there before and is still assimilating the experience, or simply has a healthy curiosity about what hospitals are like, this book is worth having. It is aimed at ages four to eight but has so many fun and quirky moments (even Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson pacing the hospital halls!) that there's plenty of appeal for older readers, too. Along the way, readers will not only gain understanding of a common human experience but will also develop empathy for anyone suffering illness.