What people are saying. . .
Full of warmth, reassuring, and as with all the books in this series, inclusive and beautifully portrayed.
This new addition to the inclusive Zeki series mark developmental milestones for toddlers of Zeki’s age, such as drinking and eating independently. It is an ideal book to share with little ones of the same age, whether by parents, carers, nurseries or health practitioners. – BookTrust
Supremely more than what initially meets the eye, this deeply thoughtful, reassuring picture book is a must for sharing with our littlest readers. Whether at home, nursery or a healthcare setting, young children will love seeing adorable Zeki's successful experiences in readiness for their own exciting occasions out in the big, wide world. –
Red Reading Hub -
Jill Bennett's Reviews of Children's Books
Lulu’s little brother is now a playful toddler drinking from his own cup and feeding himself. It’s the day he’s going for a health check and having helped pack his bag, Daddy and the infant are ready to visit the clinic.
Once there, they have to wait their turn so Zeki is glad he’s got his favourite Mister Seahorse to play with.
Zeki is happy to show what he can do; he’s weighed and measured, has his eyes, ears and heart checked and is given a jab to help him stay healthy. He leaves with a well-deserved sticker, a new book and a cheery farewell wave from the health practitioner.
Full of warmth, reassuring, and as with all the books in this series, inclusive and beautifully portrayed.
Definitely one to add to the bookshelves of those with toddlers be that at home or in a nursery setting.
Parents in Touch
This warmly inclusive series about Lulu and Zeki is perfect for introducing little children to new experiences. The characters are true to life and children will readily identify with the way Zeki feels - portrayed as much through Ruth Hearson's emotive illustrations as in the text. Zeki is growing up (and the book shows how) and today he's off to the clinic to show the doctor just what he can do. The book offers lots of opportunity for parents and carers to explain what will happen and to reassure their child. Practical and reassuring - and a fun story to share.
Let them be small Book Blog - On Harry's Bookshelf
...he has also enjoyed the Zeki Gets a Checkup book. I like this series of books from Alanna books as they’re a bit of a cross over from board books to soft back picture books; the pages are all sturdy with nice rounded corners and it really helps that transition. The stories are always relatable for the children, and I know we will be looking at this a lot more once H turns two and prepares for various health checks.
Irish Examiner - Mary Arrigan
Zeki, Lulu’s now equally famous brother, is due for a check up. Everthing is handled very calmly and we notice how grown up little Zeki has become, but his milestones have to be checked in the local clinic.
This cheerful multicultural book will be ideal for parents to prepare toddlers for their first milestone checkup, but do remember the reward that Zeki gets or a very different milestone could be reached! Age one +
Mat Tobin -
Senior Lecturer in Children's Literature at Oxford Brookes
Lulu's little brother, Zeki, is off to get his jab at the local doctors. For all of us this can be daunting but especially so for children. McQuinn shows here a family preparing together and they involve Zeki in the experience as much as possible so that he has some control and ownership over the event.
When he arrives, Zeki meets other children like him has his jab and is treated to a special book for being so brave.
A lovely book for parents to share with their child so that they begin to understand these experiences and talk about them. Lovely to see such a diverse range of families with regards to race and a special note on the doctor being female too.
A special mention must be made to the shape and size of this book. I have the paperback copy and find the images big and bold whilst the font is large but without dominating the picture plane - perfect for sharing. A lovely additional touch is the curved edges of the book's corners so more comfortable to share with a very young child (much like board books).
Books for Keeps - Elizabeth Schlenther
A warm and happy picture book that shows us a loving black family experiencing a normal everyday happening in the life of any family with young children. While a paperback, the paper is very strong, and the fact that the corners are rounded will make it difficult for young children to poke themselves or others in the eye. An excellent book for families and for surgery waiting rooms - good for toddler groups as well.
Unprompted online reviews (people who've not been sent review copies and just post for the love of the books!)
I enjoy this series so much and my toddler is always engaged by these books! – Kaydee on Goodreads
Always a fan of this series. Simple and accessible. – Becky
After trips to swim class and storytime, baby Leo now visits the doctor for a checkup in this third book in the series. Such a delightful series about common baby activities. – Vernon Area Public Library KIDS , Reviewed by: Miss Kelsey, Youth and School Services, Vernon Area Public Library
Cuteeeeee nesssss over loadddddd – One Code 431
Really adorable and informative. I love that he gets to take a book home, too. I think that should be a part of all pediatricians at some point during the child's early years. – Kelly
Such a sweet title in the Leo and Lola series. Shows Leo getting ready to go to the doctor, and some of the things he experiences while he's at the clinic. The last thing is a shot, but the title doesn't dwell on it. I loved that it was Leo's dad who took him to his check-up. – Emily
Really cute book, I love this author and her series of books. My kiddoa love the Leo and Lola books...it’s so great to see children that look like them in these books. I bought them all! Very happy. – Rere on Amazon
My son had been to the doctor alot and I did not want him to associate pain/negative experiences so I bought this book in preparation for his upcoming tonsillectomy. It was great and he continues to request to read it at night - actually, the series of Leo books (especially, Leo loves to swim - we love this book - especially since he was taking swim classes!!)
- Patrice Hargrove Hopkins on Amazon
Great book for toddlers about what will happen at the doctor's office. I love the positive nods to breastfeeding and vaccination.
Got it for my lil cuz bday & he loves it – Tasha
I have enjoyed reading this with my Grandchildren!! It’s great to see pictures that reflect their skin tone!! – Kayla
My grandaugher loves the Lola Leo series, i wish there were more she is 3 – JoAnn Hamilton Dillon
Longer and more indepth Reviews
Candid Cocoa Blogspot
Confident little Zeki is growing up fast! Now a toddler, he can drink, eat and play all by himself so it's time for another adventure: a trip to the doctor for a checkup.
This comforting picture book from the Zeki Books series was originally published in 2018. It's been given a fresh new look by publisher AlannaMax, with an updated cover, rounded corners and flexible yet sturdy pages, ideal for tiny hands and mouths.
Created by expert duo, Anna McQuinn and Ruth Hearson, this special book describes the various milestones that are assessed during a toddler's developmental health check.
From social interaction to measurements, eye tests to jabs, everything is covered, step by step, to help infants and their parents/carers prepare for this significant event.
Zeki, short for Ezekiel, is the younger brother of Lulu from the Booky Girl Lulu series, and both children are part of a loving Black family of four with Tanzanian origins.
At the start of the book, very early readers will identify with Zeki in his familiar home setting, enjoying his normal morning routine and showing all the things he can do. As his parents gently get him ready him for his outing, we gradually transition to the unfamiliar doctor's surgery, and clever Zeki brings along his trusty transitional objects — his cuddly Mister Seahorse and soothing blankie — to help him to settle quickly.
I love how the design of Zeki's yellow blankie, with its African-inspired print, fills the book's front and back endpapers as if to give him a metaphorical hug, enhancing the feeling of safety and security.
In fact, fabric design is a feature throughout with strong repeating patterns of vertical stripes and polka dots incorporated naturally within the clothes and objects in every page spread. Pointing out these simple patterns to older toddlers, eg 'red [stripe] and yellow [stripe]', will foster their awareness of changes and their ability to make predictions, laying the foundations of mathematical thinking.
McQuinn, through her clear, well-considered text, narrates not only the delightful sequence of events during Zeki's day, but also offers adults subtle suggestions for targeted praise, to boost children's confidence and motivation when completing tasks.
Hearson's gorgeous illustrations help to reframe traditionally-held gender roles.
Like many 21st-century fathers, Daddy actively shares in Zeki's care as it's he, not Mum, who takes him to the clinic. This thread runs through to the wonderful multi-ethnic waiting-room scene, where another dad is present. As well as this, we have a female GP, and I also loved how public breastfeeding is depicted proudly — a refreshing and important inclusion.
Her depiction of five children in the waiting-room scene celebrates diversity, not only in terms of ethnicity, but also the stages of child development, from a dependent, suckling newborn to a toddler standing independently and exploring an activity table on her own.
Supremely more than what initially meets the eye, this deeply thoughtful, reassuring picture book is a must for sharing with our littlest readers. Whether at home, nursery or a healthcare setting, young children will love seeing adorable Zeki's successful experiences in readiness for their own exciting occasions out in the big, wide world.
Zeki Gets a Checkup, written by Anna McQuinn and illustrated by Ruth Hearson, is one of five books in the Zeki Books series. You can read my review of Zeki Loves Mummy here and you can purchase all five books from Bookshop.
Check out my Black Children's Books directory for suggested suitability of all the books I review. All the books that I read are also checked against my Jericho Benchmark.
The Letter Press Project - Karen Argent
This is the third picture book in a delightful series with baby Zeki as the central character. As with all books produced by this publisher, the emphasis is on portraying an ordinary child’s eye view of, what is to them, a series of extraordinary experiences. What I mean is that they show events that are probably part of every child’s routine but the first time that they happen to individuals, it is easy to miss how exciting and stimulating they are. So in the same way that the first book showed us Zeki going to a Baby Club and the second one enjoying going swimming with his dad, this one describes how he fully participates in his first developmental check up at the doctor’s.
The strong image on the cover sets the tone for what is to follow with Zeki sitting in the centre between his dad and the doctor who is listening to his chest with the stethoscope. All three are smiling and together with the title, this suggests that, although very young, Zeki is in charge of what is going to be a positive experience. The first few pages show other examples of him doing lots of things for himself and growing in independence. For instance, he is drinking from his cup without any help but is encouraged by his mum and dad who are looking adoringly at him. I know that the author is very conscious of making the children in her stories appear as active and capable rather than depicting the more usual passive and dependent characteristics.
The bold colourful illustrations definitely help with this overall atmosphere and help define Zeki as an assertive little boy who can already do lots of impressive stuff. Dealing with the impending experience of a check-up is clearly going to be another triumph.
Dad always plays a very important role in this family and so helps Zeki to pack his bag in preparation for the visit. In a turn of the page they are in the doctor’s waiting room and it’s good to see them waiting alongside a range of other equally cheerful children and parents as he waits for his turn.
Apart from being a story about a memorable character, there is also enough information about the check-up to provide reassurance about a similar real world experience. Zeki appears to still be in overall charge because the first encounter with the doctor shows him demonstrating what he can do and her looking suitably impressed. Then she checks his height, weight, eyes, and heartbeat and the text hints that he is to be congratulated for being so healthy. I found the page showing him being given a jab rather amusing because everyone is still smiling broadly as the syringe approaches his arm. Choosing to show the moment just before the injection actually happens does at least keep the message a positive one because I suspect in the moments that follow, Zeki’s good mood is likely to have changed to a much less happy one!
This is a charming little story that would be very well received by children, parents and practitioners. At the end of the check-up Zeki gets a sticker and a new book as a reward and I liked the way that this image fills a double page spread with his joyful face as he eagerly touches the book and the focus is on him with only parts of the adult’s faces showing. He is the star of the story after all. The final pages show him leaving the surgery presumably ready and eager for more adventures.
Mama Filz Book Blog
Publishers Alanna Max recent publication, Zeki Gets a Check Up was an instant hit with both my little ladies and this is the first book I have shared on the blog from Alanna Max.
This is not the first picture book all about Zeki and since those books he has matured and is able to do a great more many things. The book shares how independent he is becoming and explores all the things he now loves. His loves are not too dissimilar to what my youngest enjoys and sharing the book with her I could see how relatable young Zeki was to her.
Zeki’s supportive parents ensure that he is well prepared for his doctors appointment and get Zeki excited about his visit. Zeki packs his blanket and his well loved Mister Seahorse and they are good to go. The book shares what happens during Zeki’s check up. It clearly shows you what apparatus the doctor uses to check different things and these pages are sure to be remembered to a young reader when they are having their developmental checks or dare I say it, immunisations.
The sweet illustrations are so appealing and ooze cuteness. Zeki is a beautiful brown skinned boy representing an underrepresented minority in UK children’s picture books. Zeki’s doctor is female and it is Zeki’s Daddy who takes Zeki for his check up. This read is not shy from embracing the realities of today rather then conforming to what has previously been done.
I think this book is brilliant and we are all pleased to have been introduced to Zeki. It is a book that explores new experiences in a very inviting and simple way, embracing the diverse world in which we live in.
In this episode in the life of toddler Leo, younger brother to Lola (Lola Reads to Leo, 2012, etc.), his parents take him to the doctor's office for a checkup. Leo, a brown boy with tightly curled hair, dressed in a onesie and holding onto a table, "is a big boy now." His mother and father, who are exactly the same shade of brown, are in the background as Leo feeds himself, plays ball, sings, and dances. When it is time to go, he "puts his toys away" and gets "his blankie and Mister Seahorse." Daddy packs a bag and brings him to the clinic, where Leo sits on the floor playing with Mister Seahorse while they wait for their turn. (This doctor evidently has a separate well-child waiting room, as every soul in the diverse gathering is smiling happily—there's not a runny nose in sight.) When it is Leo's turn, he shows his doctor, a white woman, "what he can do now." He gets a sticker and a book and gets checked all over. He even continues smiling while he gets his shot, which "will keep him healthy." The rounded features and shining, rosy cheeks of the invariably smiling characters make for a pleasant trip with Leo through his safe and welcoming world. A helpful way to prepare toddlers for a visit to the doctor with a character who's easy to love.