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Hopkinson, Deborah.
New York : Knopf, 2013
IL 5-8, RL 4.0

(3 booktalks)

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Booktalk #1

Eel is a young orphan living in 1854 in London.  He gets by doing odd jobs but he does a bit of mudlarking to make some money too.  He has to keep a low profile because his dangerous step-father is out to kind him and his brother.  Life is hard for Eel.  But things are going to get harder.  People living on Broad Street are starting to get ill.  Everyone knows that cholera has found the poor people crammed into the house on Broad Street.  One of Eel's odd jobs is to take care of the animals for Dr. John Snow, a very famous doctor.  When Eel begs Dr. Snow for help, the doctor is more than anxious to investigate.  He has a theory of how cholera spreads and he enlists Eel's help in proving it.

Booktalk #1

Eel, a thirteen year-old orphan, works as a ďmudlark,Ē scavenging the Thames River in London for coins, coal, or anything he can sell. Things are rough in 1854 and Eel has secrets to hide. Fisheye Bill Tyler has come after him and Eel will do anything to evade him. Wrongly suspected of theft, Eel takes to the streets and must rely on the kindness of Dr. Snow who has hired him to take care of his animals. When Eelís friends start getting sick, he is forced to ask his employer to help him and is surprised when he and his best friend, Florrie, are needed to solve the mystery of the Blue Death. Eel must use his wits if he wants to save the rest of his neighborhood while staying out of the evil clutches of his worst enemy. Part medical mystery, part survival adventure, and part homage to Charles Dickens, The Great Trouble looks at how an early public health crisis changed history.  (Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher award, 2015)

Booktalk #3

Eelís life seems pretty grim. Heís an orphan in London in 1854, and he has to work several small jobs just to make enough money to survive and care for his young brother. And to make matters worse, heís hiding from Fisheye Bill Taylor, a nasty fishmonger. Eel has lots of friends, though, and his work caring for the animals of Dr. John Snow, a doctor and researcher, is especially interesting. When people in his neighborhood of Broad Street are hit by Cholera, Eel finds himself working closely with Dr. Snow to figure out where the disease is coming from. Then, itís a race against time to convince the residents that itís the water thatís causing the illness. Will Eel and Dr. Snow get the water pump shut down in time to prevent more deaths? (Prepared by:  Carolyn Masek, HAND Middle School, South Carolina Junior Book Award)

SUBJECTS:     Cholera -- Fiction.
                        Epidemics -- Fiction.
                        Orphans -- Fiction.
                        London (England) -- History -- 19th century -- Fiction.
                        Great Britain -- History -- Victoria, 1837-1901 -- Fiction.
                        Historical fiction.

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