By Iain Lawrence
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9780385733762, 292pp.
Publication Date: November 10, 2009
List Price: $16.99*
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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."