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The Great Trouble Book Talk

By: Deborah Hopkinson


The streets of London are tough for thirteen-year-old Eel, an orphan who spends his days scavenging the filthy Thames River for anything he can sell for a few coins.   He thinks his great trouble is keeping clear of the evil Fisheye Bill Tyler, but real trouble strikes when the cholera epidemic of 1854 hits his Broad Street neighborhood.  Dr. John Snow has a theory that the disease is spread through water, but the frightened people hold on to the belief that poisonous air is the problem.  The key to proving Dr. Snow's theory is in Eel's hands.  How does he learn to think like a scientist and help the people of his neighborhood?

Prepared by Pat Scales, Retired, Greenville, South Carolina