The Paper Chain
By Claire Blake
Illustrators: Eliza Blanchard and Kathy Parkinson
ISBN 0923173287 $8.95
Reviewed by Sarah Callahan
The Paper Chain by Claire Blake is written to help children up to the age of eight understand more about a parent being diagnosed with cancer and going through treatment for cancer.
In the story, two young brothers find out that their mother has cancer. While she is in the hospital for surgery, Marcus and Ben tear off one link a day in a paper chain to represent one less day until their mom comes home from the hospital. After the mom comes home, she explains to the boys that she has something called cancer and what it is. She explains that a special doctor will be giving her strong medicines to help get rid of the cancer. Throughout the book, the mother speaks to the boys about her cancer and the side effects in easy-to-understand language. She takes the boys to see her oncologist and the place that she will be having the chemo. Back at home, the boys get their teddy bears and ask their mom questions about the cancer using role play with the "patient" bear asking questions to the "chemical doctor" bear.
The Paper Chain goes through the many feelings and situations the kids face and how they and their parents handle them. The kids experience all the common emotions of fear, anger, worry, etc. as they deal with their mother going through chemo and then radiation, until she finishes with treatment.