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The Wonder Kid

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  24 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
It’s 1954, a year when polio, known as the great crippler of children, terrified parents. Jesse’s mom won’t let him go to the playground or hang out with friends for fear that he will catch the disease—so Jesse stays home, making up his own games with his grandfather and dog, Gort.

No matter what Jesse does, he can’t seem to please his father, who wanted a basketball-baseba
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 24th 2006 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

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Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I enjoyed this for several reasons. First, I was born in 1956, and this takes place in 1954. It reminds me of when I was a little kid. The author refers to TV programs, comics, cereals, toys, and other period items that brought back the memories. He did an excellent job of bringing that period to life. Second, the family dynamics, and Jesse's relationship to each of his family members, was interesting and reminded me a little bit of my own relationship with my father. Third, the description of t ...more
Aug 06, 2008 Stef rated it really liked it
Shelves: j-chapter-books
Polio sounds like the scariest thing in the world, but to a kid it is just another monster in the dark. I dont care that the father/son thing got forced a bit, I loved all the characters.
Jan 15, 2008 babyhippoface rated it liked it
It is 1954 and the looming threat of polio brings 11-year-old Jesse’s outdoor summer plans to a screeching halt. His boredom from being cooped up is buffeted by drawing and reading comics and time spent with his ailing grandfather. Jesse’s father seems disappointed in and angry at him no matter what he does, and things only get worse when Gramps dies and Jess contracts polio. Encouragement from an unexpected source helps Jess find the strength to battle back against the potentially permanent eff ...more
Mar 30, 2009 Alice rated it really liked it
Who recommended this book to me? Thank you for the referral! Two things about this book appeal:
1. The boy is growing up during my era: the 50s. I loved counting familiar references to the culture: Green stamps! Ovaltine! The test pattern that comes on the TV at midnight!
2. The polio epidemic was for real. I remember visiting the hospital and seeing the children in the iron lungs (What happens inside the iron lung to help you breathe? I never knew but I was terrified. They are very loud.)

The them
Apr 21, 2008 Deborah rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ages 10-14
Shelves: kids-stuff
Great story about Jesse who contracts polio in 1954. He has to adjust to the death of his grandfather as well as his disability, and finds strength and confidence in a new friendship and his artistic talents. "Wonderboy" is the name of his comic strip, about a disabled boy with amazing abilities. I especially like the development of his relationship with his father, from alienation to greater understanding.
Mar 05, 2009 Carol rated it really liked it
Eleven year old boy with a sweet mom and a difficult dad...polio strikes, things aren't looking so good, but then an unexpected friend appears who helps him discover the "The Wonder Kid".

The fear of polio was huge when I was a kid. At school classmates just kind of disappeared for a long while then came back changed.
Seth P
Apr 13, 2011 Seth P rated it really liked it
I gave this book a 5 because I really liked the characters in it and I love to read adventures and this was a fantasy action adventure. There was a lot of things going on at once in this book and the kids were around my age and I really enjoyed reading this book because the kid found out he had polio and that he was paralized.
Apr 10, 2009 Mom rated it really liked it
Alice Stevenson got me on to this and, like her, I enjoyed memories from that era. I must have been some younger than the boy in the story as don't remember family being scared of polio. I do remember getting the oral vacine, of course.
Heather rated it really liked it
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Jan 30, 2017
Graham Hedstrom
Sep 04, 2012 Graham Hedstrom rated it really liked it
It,s a funny story and it all builds up in the end.
Sue Mauersberg
Sue Mauersberg rated it it was ok
Feb 21, 2011
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Nov 09, 2016
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Gracie Dalessio rated it it was amazing
Jun 19, 2016
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Jan 21, 2012
Sep 05, 2008 Kirsten rated it it was amazing
its really good but its also sorta sad. it has information about polio too!
123kris rated it liked it
May 10, 2013
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I write fiction for middle grade readers through adults and hold the distinction of having had three novels published by three different publishers for three different age groups in a single year. REUNION AT RED PAINT BAY (Other Press) is my latest book, about a newspaper editor in Maine and his family who engage in a full-scale psychological battle with a stalker without even knowing it. For YA r ...more
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