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Mitty plans to be a rock concert
reviewer so he really sees no use for the classes he is forced to take
at school. Especially Advance Biology. When he is told that he had
better do well on his project or be moved to another bio class, you'd think
he would be happy. And he might have been if this hadn't been the
only class he had with Olivia. At the family's country home, Mitty
realizes that he has forgotten to get any books for his project and now
is stuck with no book store and no library around. Fortunately, his
mother has just received a collection of books that she will use to decorate
some house but there are books that used to belong to a doctor. There
must be something in there that Mitty can use. And sure enough, he
finds so old medical books. In one of the books is an envelop that
holds two scabs from an outbreak in 1902. After Mitty handles the
scabs, he begins to think they might still be contagious. And after
a little research, Mitty realizes he is dealing with smallpox. Will
Mitty be responsible for bringing back a disease thought eradicated?
Mitty is just about prides
himself in doing as little school work as he can. When his advanced
biology teacher assigns a paper on an infectious disease, Mitty plans to
just blow it off til the last minute and then just copy something off the
Internet. But then he learns that if he doesn't do well on this paper,
he was going to be moved to the regular biology class. That in itself
is not a bad thing but this is the only class he has with Olivia.
So, the night before the first notes are due, Mitty realizes that he is
stuck in the family's country home with no bookstores or libraries nearby.
Well, maybe there is something in the collection of books his mother just
purchased from an estate. After all, the man who had owned the books
was a doctor. And sure enough, Mitty finds several books on infectious
diseases. And he might have found more than he bargained for.
In one of the books is an envelop containing scabs from the 1902 outbreak
of smallpox. After handling the scabs, Mitty starts to wonder if
they could still be contagious. They couldn't be. Could they?
Meet Mitty, underachieving
high school student at the elite St. Raphael's prep school in New York.
He's a nice guy but really prefers just about anything to school work.
When the biology research project on infectious diseases was assigned,
Mitty was seriously listening to his music and not calendaring the various
due dates. Now the preliminary research is due and Mitty is scrambling
around for book references until he remembers those antique books his mother,
an interior decorator, uses in her clients' homes.
While flipping through the
one about contagious diseases, a mysterious envelope slips out with a notation
on it: "VM scabs, 1902, Boston." Mitty reads the article about smallpox
and examines the contents of the envelope. It disintegrates his hand and
the dust flies up in his face. VM means variola major which is smallpox!
A deadly disease no longer immunized against because it's extinct -- except
in bioterrorism labs. There is no cure; most people who contract it die
a horrible death while the few survivors are left with deep pitted scars.
Has Mitty been exposed to smallpox?
Is he now developing symptoms? Has he spread it to his friends, his unsuspecting
parents, and all the people he's come in contact with at school, in the
New York subways?
Read on and find out…
research projects, friends,
romance with the super-smart
and beautiful Olivia,
the Internet, the FBI and
getting along with your parents
and taking responsibility for your life. (Linda Rogde, Secondary
Media Center, Seoul Foreign School, Seoul, S. Korea)
Smallpox is a disease that
isn't around anymore. Doctors and scientists eliminated it from the face
of the earth. But before that, it was like chickenpox, every kid got it
at some point. But unlike chickenpox, it could kill you. It killed a lot
of kids. And if it didn't kill you, you would have deep scars all over
for the rest of your life.
Mitty doesn't know any of this
when he picks smallpox for his research project. Mitty is the kind of guy
who likes to wait for the last minute to do his homework. The kind of guy
who will pick up a book at the library the night before a paper is due,
read it that night, and write the report on the way in to school in the
But before the assignment is
due, his family goes to their vacation house for the weekend. Mitty can't
go to the library. So he goes through the boxes of antique books in the
vacation house garage. He finds a 100 year old medical book. Well, maybe
he won't get a great grade, but he won't flunk. When he looks up smallpox,
out falls an old, yellowed envelope. Inside the envelope is some brown
crumbly stuff. Mitty sneezes as it tumbles into his hand.
He's found 100 year old smallpox
scabs, the most infectious part of a person with smallpox. Mitty has become
a biological time bomb. It's time to get scared.
(Booktalk by Sarah Hunt, King
County Library System for
the Evergreen Young Adult Book award, 2007-2008)
Mitty Blake is a mediocre,
but happy-go-lucky student at his private high school in NYC. When faced
with being removed for poor grades from his Advanced Biology class, where
the (brilliant) girl of his dreams is, he decides to buckle down and tackle
the research project he has been putting off. Smallpox…who ever heard of
smallpox? His initial search for facts leads him to an antique leather-bound
medical book that his mother intends to use as an interior design accent,
but Mitty finds some useful information within it. He also finds an envelope
containing scabs from a smallpox outbreak in 1902. The more he and his
girlfriend, Olivia, learn about “his” disease, the more he fears he may
be responsible for reintroducing it back into society. This biological
thriller is impossible to put down! (Prepared by: Leah Roche, Beaufort
High School for SCASL
Young Adult Awards, 2008)
Do you know what variola major
is? Ever heard of smallpox? It’s an awful disease that begins with a high
fever, followed by small red bumps which come out all over the mouth and
tongue, spread to the face and then all over the body. The bumps fill with
pus and get a little indentation in the center of them, like a bellybutton.
That’s the distinguishing feature of smallpox. In time, scabs form over
the bumps. The scabs eventually fall off, leaving the victim, if he or
she survives, horribly disfigured. Would you mess around with a highly
contagious, deadly disease like that?
The main character in Code
Orange is NYC teenager, Mitchell Blake, Mitty. He has an infectious disease
report due for his advanced bio class and he’s a real procrastinator. Mitty
has spent more time flirting with Olivia, than doing research. He’s in
a pinch when he discovers an old medical book with an envelope containing
smallpox scabs inside. It seems like the answer to his problem, but in
fact, it’s only the beginning. Once Mitty realizes the seriousness of handling
the scabs he has to determine if he’s contagious. He goes on the Internet
to learn more about the disease and inadvertently advertises his situation
to a terrorist group. This story is a ‘ripped from the headlines’ type
of thriller. In post 9-11 America, it’s utterly terrifying to consider
the consequences of bio-terrorism. Code Orange by Caroline Cooney will
keep you on the edge of your seat! (Pennsylvania
Young Reader’s Choice Awards nominee, 2008-2009)
Do you have smallpox?
Mitty Blake is your average American teenage boy living in New York City
in present day time. In his Advanced Placement Biology class he's taking,
only because his crush Olivia is, he learns that if he doesn't get an A
on his next paper he will fail the class and lose his chance with Olivia.
When his teacher tells him he has to write a paper on an infectious disease,
he realizes he might actually fail the class until he gets home and he
looks in his family's personal library and finds a book called Scabs—VM
epidemic 1902 Boston. Alas, when he opens the book he finds two scabs inside
from 1902, which to his misfortune are some of the only Variola Major
scabs (a leading cause to smallpox) left in the country. On his quest to
find out if he contracted the disease he sent an e-mail to the Federal
Bureau of Investigation to warn them that he may have small pox and needs
the cure, he accidentally alerts a terrorist group who want to use him
as a human biological weapon. So if you need to do a report on a infectious
disease PLEASE do not read Scabs—VM epidemic 1902 Boston and open the little
white envelope and if you do PLEASE don't tell the FBI. Read Code
Orange to find out if Mitty can stop the terrorist attack before it starts!
What if you found out that
you might be a walking biological weapon of mass destruction? Mitty Blake
has discovered that he has handled 100-year-old scabs from variola major,
also known as smallpox. At first he doesn’t think it is very important.
He found them in some old book his mother was going to use for her interior
decoration business. But as Mitty does more research he discovers that
smallpox could have a devastating effect on the population-no one has been
vaccinated in several decades and those scabs might have a shelf life.
Time is running out. (Melissa Bowman, Melissa.Bowman@pisd.edu, Armstrong
Middle School, Lone Star Book Award nominee, 2006-2007)