A girl’s imagination transports polio-afflicted kids into a fantastic world.
The spring of 1955 tests Laurie Valentine’s gifts as a storyteller. After her friend Dickie contracts polio and finds himself confined to an iron lung, Laurie visits him in the hospital. There she meets Carolyn and Chip, two other kids trapped inside the breathing machines. Laurie’s first impulse is to flee, but Dickie begs her to tell them a story. And so Laurie begins her tale of Collosso, a rampaging giant, and Jimmy, a tiny boy whose destiny is to become a slayer of giants.
As Laurie embellishes her tale with gnomes, unicorns, gryphons, and other fanciful creatures, Dickie comes to believe that he is a character in her story. Little by little Carolyn, Chip, and other kids who come to listen, recognize counterparts as well. Laurie’s tale is so powerful that when she’s prevented from continuing it, Dickie, Carolyn, and Chip take turns as narrators. Each helps bring the story of Collosso and Jimmy to an end—changing the lives of those in the polio ward in startling ways.
Review, The Wall Street Journal, December 5, 2009:
"Young Readers...will not quickly forget this moving, imaginative glimpse of the not-so-long ago past."
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, November 16, 2009:
"Distinctive, emotionally honest characters and consistently engrossing prose make this book a standout."
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, October 16, 2009:
"This profound, magical, dryly comical novel reminds readers of the power of story, but they will already be feeling it in their bones. Masterful."
WINNER 2009 - Kirkus Reviews Best Childrens Books
WINNER 2010 - ALA Notable Children's Book
WINNER 2010 - NCSS/CBC Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies
NOMINEE - Missouri Mark Twain Award
WINNER - California Young Reader Medal
Iain Lawrence is the author of numerous novels. He lives on Gabriola Island, British Columbia.