From School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-A victim of the 1950s polio epidemic, Pauline doesn't let her wheelchair or crutches stand in the way of her passion for hockey. Carter alternates first-person accounts of a young Canadian teenager of the late '50s and early '60s written in the present tense with past-tense chapters that recount the events seven years earlier when the crippling disease struck. The author writes skillfully enough to make this device work, although the treatment of the dualities in the girl's world is a little heavy-handed: her easygoing dad versus her worrisome, overprotective mother; the mother versus glamorous, adventurous Tante Marie, who gives her niece a hockey stick for Christmas; the wicked nurse and physical therapist versus nurse "Nightingale" at the rehabilitation hospital; the girl's desire to resume her active life versus her desire to avoid embarrassment. Pauline is believable and accessible: she fears that her own selfishness is to blame for her disease; her anxiety about returning to school turns into determination; her response, at age 13, to the news that her mother is pregnant ("I don't want a sister or brother who can run or skate") is childish. The freedom that Pauline feels when her dad helps her become a wheelchair hockey player in their backyard rink is palpable. With a little promise of romance thrown in, this novel will make good recreational reading, and it seamlessly incorporates information on the historic epidemic.
Sue Sherif, Alaska State Library, Anchorage
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 4-7. Like many middle-class Canadian kids in the 1950s, 12-year-old Pauline adores hockey, argues with her mother about homework, and is nervous about her expected new sibling. She's also a polio survivor struggling to regain use of her nearly crippled legs. In chapters that flip between the present and Pauline's hospitalization five years earlier, the story traces Pauline's efforts to overcome her fears and physical limitations and dive back into the rowdy, carefree childhood she had left behind. Carter magnifies the pain and horror of the disease with vivid descriptions of the iron lung, the miserable children's ward, and a slightly miscast, abusive nurse plucked straight from a gothic novel. But she leavens the drama and struggle with humor, vivid characters (especially a vivacious young Francophone aunt), and wonderful descriptions of Pauline's everyday concerns and determination to play hockey. Pair this with Patricia Reilly Giff's All the Way Home
[BKL O 15 01], also about a polio survivor. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved