REVIEW BY JUDY WOODHOUSE (ESL teacher and author of a series entitled Multicultural Tales)
Imagine the excitement of a group of rural children on the first day of summer vacation. They are looking forward to swimming, fishing and the Canadian National Exhibition. However, this summer, none of those activities are allowed because of the fear caused by polio.
Before the polio vaccine, in the 1950s, thousands of people were paralyzed by polio and many died. Elementary school children were among those often affected.
For young Marie, this made for a very lonely summer. Her cousin Ricky became ill and was not able to visit. All swimming pools were closed and many summer activities cancelled due to this terrible disease. We can understand Marie’s frustration as well as the fear when she and her friends contact this deadly virus.
I am sure many school children can identify with the feeling of being “grounded.” Many new Canadian families have left their homes in other countries in order to immigrate to Canada for a better life and to be safe. Some have left behind families and friends, even their pets and toys. Like Marie, their world has been turned upside down.
I feel this book would be useful in regular and as well as ESL classes. It provides a direct connection to an important period in our history.