Anti-vaccine children's book raises ire

The anti-vaccine children's book "Melanie's Marvelous Measles" is receiving overwhelmingly negative reviews by critics who disagree with the book's message.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness that predominantly affects children. Despite the existence of an effective vaccine, the viral infection still kills approximately 200,000 people around the world every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Stephanie Messenger's book expands on the notion that measles is a benign illness that is promoted as dangerous in order to sell vaccines. She describes her book as an educational journey and says she has devoted her life to warning people about the threat of vaccination.

The title, "Melanie's Marvelous Measles," appears to allude to Roald Dahl's book "George's Magical Medicine." Dahl was a proponent of vaccination who lost his young daughter to measles infection, according to

Dozens of reviews have been posted on Amazon about Messenger's book, and the overwhelming majority of them are negative. Some are also extremely personal.

"I can only presume that the author was born after the successful vaccination program made people complacent about the dangers of measles," a reviewer wrote, reports. "I was not so lucky. In the epidemic of my childhood I was nearly blinded, and still have scars on my eyeballs. I was the lucky member of the family; my sister died from complications. Measles kills children. This book is irresponsible and misleading at best. At worst it could lead to the death of a child."