Friday, April 2, 2010

Lawrence, Iain (2009). The Giant-Slayer. (Gr. 3-6)

Despite the title, this book is not really about magic or giant-slayers.  It's about Laurie Valentine, whose best friend gets polio in 1955.  Knowing that her father and nanny are scared of polio, Laurie sneaks away from the house as often as she can to visit her friend, Dickie, in the hospital.  Sometimes, it's uncomfortable to visit Dickie.  He's in an iron lung because his lungs are paralyzed, and only his head sticks out of the huge metal cylinder.  There are two other children in iron lungs, too: a boy who doesn't talk much about himself, and a girl whose family hasn't visited her in eight years.  Laurie doesn't know what to say to Dickie, anymore, so she makes up a story about a tiny boy who decides to slay a cruel giant.  Laurie's story gives them courage and hope as they battle their own giants. 

The Giant-Slayer is about hardship and friendship and the magic of imagination.  If you don't know much about polio, don't worry: all the information you need is in the book.  Your grandparents might remember the polio epidemics of the 1940s and 1950s, too.  As always, you can come into the library with any questions.

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