"The intriguing history of the illness and the powerful first-person voice will propel readers through to the novel's deeply satisfying conclusion." --Booklist
"Chock full of life, history and character development. . . . The subject of polio is a rare one in children's fiction, and these characters and their story are worth getting to know." --Kirkus Reviews
"Chock full of life, history and character development. ...The subject of polio is a rare one in children's fiction, and these characters and their story are worth getting to know." --Kirkus Reviews
"This fascinating book will keep the reader captivated until the very last page." --Children's Literature
Thirteen-year-old Ann Fay Honeycutt has the strength and toughness of the hickory trees for which her town is named. With her father off at war and a polio epidemic raging, she needs it. This gripping story, based on true events, enables today's readers to relive 1944 and 1945 and the frightening war at home against polio. When the disease attacks Ann Fay's brother, their mother takes him to the emergency polio hospital set up at a summer camp in Hickory. Because no one knows how the disease spreads, Ann Fay is forced to burn her brother's toys and endure being shunned by neighbors fearful of contracting polio. Since it often claimed the lives of its victims or left them permanently damagedsome of them confined to an iron lungit was a terrifying threat. Her everyday life is altered with public events cancelled and swimming banned. Still, there is hope in the form of true friends and even President Roosevelt who had survived polio himself. Ann Fay derives comfort from this as she is struck down by polio. Her compelling first person account, garnered from the author's interviews with people hospitalized at the Hickory camp, reveals what it is like to suddenly become immobile and undergo painful physiotherapy. Ann Fay even learns the effects of racial segregation when she makes friends with a black girl at the Hickory facility. The author's notes are both educational and fascinating. A must have for anyone studying this period or anyone wanting a compelling read. 2006, Calkins Creek Books/Boyds Mills Press, Ages 10 up.
As 1944 begins, thirteen-year-old Ann Fay Honeycutt finds herself on a windy railway platform in Hickory, North Carolina, as her father leaves for war. He tells her that she must be "the man of the house." She takes this charge seriously, caring for her siblings and growing a victory garden. That summer, an intense polio epidemic hits Hickory. Within days, a hospital is created, an event known as "the miracle of Hickory." Ann Fay's brother dies at the polio hospital, plunging her mother into disabling grief. Soon Ann Fay must also endure painful treatments and therapy to overcome the disease herself. During her hospitalization, she meets a young African American girl who is also stricken, and they become the best of friends despite the societal pressures determined to keep them apart. This compelling and well-researched historical novel explores many aspects of World War II-era American life, both those familiar to young readers and those less well known. The story is historically and medically accurate and is enhanced by author's notes and a bibliography. The book is beautifully written, with vivid use of symbolism focused on the color blue, from Ann Fay's overalls to the dreaded wisteria vines that threaten to choke the life out of her victory garden just as the war, poverty, and polio affect her family's life. This memorable tale of the healing power of family and friendship is highly recommended for school and public libraries serving middle school and high school students.
Gr 6-9-A compelling story of resourcefulness, loss, and the healing power of friendship. When Ann Fay Honeycutt's father goes off to war in 1944, the 13-year-old steps into his overalls as the oldest of four children. Despite support from Junior, her 17-year-old neighbor, the daunting tasks of tending the family's large vegetable garden, helping with household chores, and looking after her sisters and brother suddenly become overwhelming. Then Bobby, four, contracts polio and is taken to an emergency quarantine hospital. He dies, and Ann Fay must help her family deal with their grief. While the escalating trials have served to increase her toughness and determination, Ann Fay's world is further rocked when she contracts the devastating disease and is herself hospitalized. The races are not separated in the contagious ward in Hickory, NC, and she and Imogene, a "colored girl," become fast friends. Hostetter based this novel on the true story of the polio hospital built in Hickory during the epidemic. Back matter includes lists of nonfiction, videos, and children's novels about World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and polio. Fans of such titles as Avi's Don't You Know There's a War On? (HarperCollins, 2001) and Patricia Reilly Giff's Lily's Crossing (Delacorte, 1997) will enjoy this dramatic story.-Kathryn Childs, Morris Mid/High School, OK Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Blue, 13, writes of Hickory, N.C., January 1944-June 1945. Roosevelt is president; the war and a polio epidemic are underway; Hickory's camp becomes an emergency polio hospital and Blue's father goes off to war, giving her overalls to wear as "man of the house." Blue, her twin sisters, young brother and mother try to carry on with the help of a teenaged neighbor and his mother, but it's much harder than Blue could have anticipated. First, her brother contracts polio and her mother stays at the hospital with him, leaving Blue to cope with minding the twins and managing everything. Then, it's Blue who is stricken. In the hospital, she meets and makes friends with Imogene, a black girl, the first she's ever actually been close to. Imogene describes "a muddy wide river between your people and mines," and indeed it is. Chock full of life, history and character development, this intriguing historical narrative tries almost too hard to fit everything in-the war, polio and its treatment, death, race relations, a family's near disintegration and a mother's breakdown. The density and the first-person voice will turn some away, but the subject of polio is a rare one in children's fiction, and these characters and their story are worth getting to know. (endnotes, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 10-12)