“Harrar adeptly maintains a boy’s perspective while inserting humor, trivia, and historical information into an otherwise harrowing situation.”

School Library Journal


The Wonder Kid

It started out as the Summer of No Fun for eleven-year-old Jesse James MacLean. And then it got worse.

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 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 baseball football kind of son. Instead, Jesse spends his day drawing pictures, watching cowboy movies, and playing war with his army of metal soldiers.

Then polio strikes, paralyzing Jesse’s legs. With the help of an unlikely girlfriend, Jesse turns his imagination to creating comic strips, reinterpreting his life as The Wonder Kid with the power to make things happen by thinking them.

In this strange summer of UFOs and fallout shelters and deadly hurricanes, Jesse discovers just how much he has in common with his father and what it really means to be a hero.



Share on Goodreads