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Literature / Melanie's Marvelous Measles

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Melanie's Marvelous Measles is a controversial children's book by the Australian author Stephanie Messanger, who was inspired to write it after her son died from what she thought was the vaccine he'd recently had.

It is meant to communicate that having measles is actually a good thing and that vaccines are bad, and it portrays measles rather unrealistically by having those afflicted with it still active. It also ends with both the vaccinated children getting measles and both the unvaccinated children staying healthy. The book has also received controversy because of the title's similarity to George's Marvelous Medicine, whose author (Roald Dahl) had a daughter who died of measles.

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In the book, a girl named Tina enters her class and finds that her friend Melanie has not arrived. It turns out that she has the measles. A boy named Jared says that he has been vaccinated and another boy, Travis, says that he hasn't been. Jared responds that not getting vaccinated could kill you, but is lost for words when Travis says that he's still alive. The book then reveals that Tina is also unvaccinated because her parents decided that vaccination was "too risky" after her older brother Sam became sick from a shot.

At home, Tina's mother explains what measles is, claiming that it makes you stronger in the long run and that the only reason people are afraid of it is a fear of the unknown, like being afraid of the dark. They then visit Melanie, bringing carrots and melon, and Melanie is fine and her spots don't even itch, but apparently her doctor says it's the worst case he's seen in years. They play together, Melanie recovers, and Tina doesn't get the measles but Jared does.

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Melanie's Marvelous Measles provides examples of

  • An Aesop: This book has the rather controversial moral that measles is good, but it also has the less-controversial Aesop that vitamin A is good.
  • Alliterative Title: Melanie's Marvelous Measles.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Melanie's only symptom is a rash that doesn't even itch and yet her doctor says it's the "worst case he's seen in years". In reality, the worst-case scenario with measles is blindness, a weak immune system, or even death.
  • Beneficial Disease: According to Tina's mother, measles makes you stronger.
  • Cheerful Child: Melanie and Tina both seem very upbeat.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': All the vaccinated kids end up getting sick.
  • Disease-Prevention Aesop: While the book mostly claims that having measles is good, it does say that staying hydrated and having plenty of vitamin A can prevent you from getting it.
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  • Double Aesop: This claims that vaccines are bad and healthy eating is good.
  • Good Parents: The author's intention was to have Tina's mother be the voice of reason, but if the reader knows the worse symptoms of measles, it kind of falls flat.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Tina always wears a blue dress and Melanie always wears a pink top with a pattern on it and pink pants.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Zigzagged. Tina is a bit concerned that Melanie isn't at school because she's usually early, then decides she must've slept in, then it turns out she has measles, but she has a very non-serious version.
  • Out Sick: Melanie stays home from school due to having measles.
  • Sick Episode: Melanie, and then Jared, get the measles.

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