In 1955 kids were afraid that they might get a disease called polio. Polio is a virus that can cause paralysis. The paralysis can be so bad that it doesn’t just mean not being able to move the arms or the legs, it also means the body not being able to breath on its own. (Now, all kids get a vaccine for polio so you don’t have to worry about getting it anymore.)
Back in the 50s, if a kid couldn’t breath right because of polio, the kid had to live in an iron lung – a big machine the kid laid inside. This meant no standing up, no sitting, no playing. This was the time before much TV and definately no DVDs or video games or computers. Can you imagine? The kids in this story that live inside iron lungs can read a propped up book…but they have to wait for a nurse to come by to turn the pages.
The story begins when adventurous coonskin cap wearing, popgun toting Dickie moves in down the street and lonely Laurie finds in him a true kindred spirit. They play and pretend and explore all over their neighborhood all day and into the evenings. Laurie is devastated when Dickie is stricken with polio and confined to the hospital. Laurie’s Dad won’t let her visit because he’s afraid she could get polio too. Laurie obeys…for awhile. When she can’t stand it any longer Laurie sneaks into the hospital to visit Dickie and finds that he isn’t alone. Dickie, Chip and Carolyn all have polio and all three live in the hospital inside iron lungs.
During her visits, Laurie begins a story about Jimmy, a little boy destined to become a big hero fighting a giant. Each time Laurie returns to the hospital to visit she adds more to the story. A story about a little person fighting a great big giant is something these kids can relate to. Besting the giant requires all of Jimmy’s skills. He survives with the help of his friends.
The realistic part of the story about kids dealing with polio was really eye opening. It really is hard to imagine yourself living trapped in an iron long like that. The part of the book that is the story Laurie is telling about, the part about Jimmy the giant-slayer, was just fun to read. Laurie is a great storyteller and you can understand why the kids enjoyed her stories so much. Author: Iain Lawrence
Felix plays in 1854 and likes the New York Knickerbockers. Louis is a soldier during the Civil War and plays ball between battles. Arnold is a fan in 1894 and gets to meet his favorite player. Walter is a batboy for the Brooklyn Superbas in 1908. Frankie does a little betting on the game in 1926. Kat, a girl, plays for the Grand Rapids Chicks in 1945. Jimmy can’t believe it when he finds out the Dodgers are leaving Brooklyn in 1957. Michael just might pitch a perfect game in 1981. Snider turns baseball memorabelia into dollars on e-bay in 2002. Nine innings in a baseball game, nine kids in this story told in nine chapters…one chapter for each kid. The nine kids have baseball in common and something else, something really important…but you’ll have to get to the last chapter to find out what it is. TIP: Pay attention to the bat and the ball. Each chapter is a story itself but the way the author ties it all together at the end is really cool! Author: Allan GatzLook
Zoe is eleven and she’s tough as nails. She’s taken care of herself for as long as she can remember because the grown-ups in her life have either been gone (her dad) or unreliable (her mom, and her mom’s string of boyfriends).
Zoe knows how to grocery shop, vacuum, scrub toilets, do laundry, drive a stickshift & place bets at the track. What she doesn’t know, is how to be a kid.
Now, Zoe’s Mom is dead and the next person in line to take care of her is an old Uncle she never even knew she had, Uncle Henry. Zoe isn’t expecting much. She figures this new grown-up will probably be just as useless as all the others before him. “What grown-ups said and what they actually did never matched or even came close.”
But this grown-up, this Uncle Henry, he’s different. He’s the first trustworthy adult Zoe has ever met. Sometimes he’s so competent and reliable he makes her really mad – like when he makes her go to school. Zoe’s been in charge of herself for so long it’s hard for her to let Uncle Henry be in charge. And Uncle Henry, he’s been alone for so long it’s hard for him to be in charge of somebody else.
The two of them are independent, moody, stubborn, smart…and they both need a family. So they make one: the street smart, sarcastic, wise-cracking Zoe and the reclusive, grizzly old doctor turned metal sculptor. With their good friends Fred & Bessie, Maud, Father Phillip and Zoe’s teacher Ms. Avery, a stray cat and a mysterious boy – Sugar Hill, North Carolina turns out to be a really fine place to grow up. Author: Clay Carmichael
Another great mystery in the series The Boy Sherlock Holmes. Still stung by having Inspector Lestrade and Scotland Yard take credit for his sleuthing, young Sherlock is determined to find another case to make his name as a great detective.
When a beautiful rich girl vanishes in broad daylight without a trace…no witnesses…no ransom note…no nothing, Sherlock knows this is the case that will prove his worth. The problem? Where to start. After 2 1/2 months of waiting a ransom note is finally delivered to the girl’s family and revealed by Inspector Lestrade, a note Sherlock scrutinizes from afar. When Lestrade holds the note up, the sun shines through the paper. Sherlock notices a faint watermark on the paper – this is his first clue. (A watermark is a picture or logo impressed on paper when the paper is made. It is very faint, in fact, you can’t see it until the paper is held up to the light. The watermark lets the buyer know who manufactured the paper.)
As usual Lestrade is none to happy to have Sherlock around. To make things really interesting, Lestrade’s son becomes Sherlock’s reluctant ally and Irene Doyle remains Sherlock’s reluctant friend. Sherlock still can’t find the nerve to apologize to her and continues to believe that he is better off without her as an ally, a sleuthing partner, or a friend. Like Mr. Incredible, he works alone. Sometimes, geniuses can be really dumb! Author: Shane Peacock
Yes, this one is just as funny as the other ones! This time Greg is happily looking forward to summer vacation.
“The way I like to spend my summer vacation is in front of the TV, playing video games with the curtains closed and the lights turned off.”
You know Greg’s Mom, she isn’t going to go for that plan. In fact, she has all kind of things lined up to keep Greg busy and none of her choices include staying inside playing video games. He tries to reason with her:
“I tell her that I’m just trying to protect my skin so I don’t look all wrinkly when I’m old like her…”
Huh. Of course, that argument doesn’t go very far with Greg’s Mom! He doesn’t get to laze in front of the TV all summer playing video games, he is forced outdoors and as usual, he finds a heap of trouble.