Official Review: Scary Spring: Our Polio Fright of 1955

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
kdstrack
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Official Review: Scary Spring: Our Polio Fright of 1955

Post by kdstrack » 20 Apr 2019, 20:18

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Scary Spring: Our Polio Fright of 1955" by C.A. Hartnell.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Our Scary Spring: Our Polio Fright of 1955 by C. A. Hartnell is listed as historical fiction and is the first book of a four book series. Each book title features one of the seasons. In this first volume, the author portrays the polio threat that hung over the nation and how this fear seeped into the hearts and minds of the children who heard the news reports and saw evidence of the disease in the people around them.

Carol Ann lives in El Monte, California. Pete, her best friend, comes over frequently to play. They like playing with mean Mr. Chester’s beagle, Hey Pup, who regularly escapes under the fence to be with the children. Family and school activities occupy a great deal of their time.

A dark cloud hangs over their lives. The March of Dimes posters displayed in store windows remind them of Tim and Mr. Chester who have difficulty walking as a result of polio. The government plans to test a new polio vaccine in the grade schools. Deep fears arise when Carol Ann gets the chills, stiffness in her shoulders, and a high fever. Has the vaccine developed by Dr. Salk come too late for Carol Ann?

The author recreates the ambiance of the 1950s. Current television and radio programs, different models of cars, and the names of favorite movies and songs fill the pages of the book. Family activities and visiting neighbors knit the community together. Another highlight is the information about the development of the polio vaccine included in the prologue and complemented at the end of the story. The author personalizes the book with several family photos, a list of prices of everyday items in the 1950s, and a glossary of words that might confuse readers.

Children reading the book on their own might need an adult to explain the numerous references to songs, television programs, and cars that were popular in the 50s. A picture of a March of Dimes poster would be helpful. Readers could experience the hope for a cure that Carol Ann felt when she donated her dimes to the cause.

I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The story is well written and excellently edited. I only noticed three errors. This story is appropriate for children in the second to fourth grades, and parents and teachers would enjoy reading this book out loud to their children. The book mentions the testing of the polio vaccine on school children. This method of field trial, on more than 600,000 children in grades one through three, has been criticized, and these sections of the story might trigger adverse reactions in readers who oppose vaccinations.

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Scary Spring: Our Polio Fright of 1955
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Prisallen
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Post by Prisallen » 23 Apr 2019, 07:56

This book seems like a good way for children to learn some history about the polio epidemic in America and what America was like during that time period. Thanks for a wonderful review!

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Post by kandscreeley » 23 Apr 2019, 08:27

Interesting! This looks like it's part of a series, and I'm definitely interested in the 1950s. I hope Carol Ann is okay. Thanks so much for introducing us to this one!
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Post by Janelle Juncos » 23 Apr 2019, 09:19

Great review, friend! I'm not a huge fan of that title, but you've convinced me this one is worth a read. I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but when I do I like to be immersed in the time and place and it seems this author hit the mark. Thanks!

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Post by Cecilia_L » 23 Apr 2019, 12:16

Since I read two of the four books in the series, I really enjoyed your review. The polio is mentioned in the other books, as one of the kids' friends suffered from it. It seems we enjoyed some of the same features of the nostalgic content, and you make an excellent point about parents explaining the pop-culture references. Great review!

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Post by bellamia » 23 Apr 2019, 13:44

I'd like to read this one! Really great review!

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Post by nooregano » 23 Apr 2019, 14:14

You know those children books that have that strange idyllic and domestic sort of feel? Like Little House on the Prairie? This book sounds like it would fall into that same category. Thank you for this review, I'm glad you liked the book so much, kdstrack! :D
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Post by Stephanie Elizabeth » 23 Apr 2019, 15:37

This sounds interesting. Does the author discuss the potential negative effects of the new anti-vaccine movement?

Great review!

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Post by kdstrack » 23 Apr 2019, 21:39

Prisallen wrote:
23 Apr 2019, 07:56
This book seems like a good way for children to learn some history about the polio epidemic in America and what America was like during that time period. Thanks for a wonderful review!
I agree. Personally, I learned quite a bit and was motivated to read more online about the epidemic. I liked how the author used a child to reflect the emotions of the time. Hope you will enjoy it too.

kdstrack
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Post by kdstrack » 23 Apr 2019, 21:40

kandscreeley wrote:
23 Apr 2019, 08:27
Interesting! This looks like it's part of a series, and I'm definitely interested in the 1950s. I hope Carol Ann is okay. Thanks so much for introducing us to this one!
It is a short and quick read. Hope you can pick it up! Thanks for commenting.

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Post by kdstrack » 23 Apr 2019, 21:44

Janelle Juncos wrote:
23 Apr 2019, 09:19
Great review, friend! I'm not a huge fan of that title, but you've convinced me this one is worth a read. I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but when I do I like to be immersed in the time and place and it seems this author hit the mark. Thanks!
What´s wonderful is that you can look up all the names of the songs and programs online. Listening to a few of these tunes will really take you back in time! Thanks for stopping by.

kdstrack
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Post by kdstrack » 23 Apr 2019, 21:45

bellamia wrote:
23 Apr 2019, 13:44
I'd like to read this one! Really great review!
Hope you enjoy it!

kdstrack
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Post by kdstrack » 23 Apr 2019, 21:48

nooregano wrote:
23 Apr 2019, 14:14
You know those children books that have that strange idyllic and domestic sort of feel? Like Little House on the Prairie? This book sounds like it would fall into that same category. Thank you for this review, I'm glad you liked the book so much, kdstrack! :D
I liked how the author personalized the book. She takes you back in time and helps you relive the era in which the story takes place. I did enjoy it. Thanks for commenting!

kdstrack
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Post by kdstrack » 23 Apr 2019, 21:51

Stephanie Elizabeth wrote:
23 Apr 2019, 15:37
This sounds interesting. Does the author discuss the potential negative effects of the new anti-vaccine movement?

Great review!
There are some historical facts (and photos) included in the book. I'll let the author answer your question herself!

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Post by Bluebird03 » 24 Apr 2019, 14:57

How neat that the author has recreated the 1950's for the readers- via the tv and radio shows, cars, movies and songs of that decade. Great review! :)

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