Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The Giant Slayer by Iain Lawrence
If you are very sick, will a fairy tale help take the pain and boredom away?
Random House sent me a copy of this Yearling Fantasy to read for review (thank you). It has been published and you can pick up a copy at your local bookstore now.
This story is set in 1955, when polio was still a scourge. Laurie gets really bored by all the rules about what she can't do so she doesn't contract it. When her good friend, Dickie, comes down with it, she suddenly realizes all those rules might not have been in vain. She's immediately afraid she has contracted it, too, but she's OK. When she wants to visit Dickie, she's told no. However, that doesn't stop her.
The polio ward is not a pleasant place. The patients are on iron lungs, they can't talk much and for some hope has died. Laurie wants to visit but doesn't know what to say or do. She suddenly decides to create a story and share it with Dickie and the others. As time goes by, the story becomes intertwined with the children's challenges and lives and more patients come in to listen. Then Laurie comes down with polio from taking the vaccine to prevent it...
The story lives on with the other patients picking it up and taking turns telling it. And Laurie returns to help them finish it.
This author gives you a good look at how debilitating polio was and how having someone care about you is very important to healing. The fairy tale is a good tale, too. Why not share this story with your young one and add some facts about polio to the mix? You can entertain and educate at the same time.