CLOSE TO HOME by Lydia Weaver


A Story of the Polio Epidemic
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 10
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 Fifth-grader Betsy, whose mother works in Jonas Salk's research lab, has an on-again, off-again friendship with fascinating, mischievous Leticia, whose mother is so fearful of polio that she believes every wild speculation about how it might be spread--even that it may be carried by Communists. At the height of 1952's epidemic, Leticia is stricken despite her mother's precautions, but is gamely fighting for recovery at the close. Though cold war fears are skillfully worked into the polio story, a number of ends are left hanging: after Betsy and Leticia flood the newly poured foundation of a neighbor's bomb shelter to make a swimming pool (public pools are closed), there are never any repercussions; nor do we learn whether a brief, mysterious illness of Betsy's is actually a mild case of polio. And though fear of contagion is a major theme, Weaver omits any information on how polio is transmitted, or its symptoms and progression. Neither fictionally nor instructionally up to the ``Once Upon America'' series' usual standard. Illustrations not seen. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-670-84511-6
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1993


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