Friday, February 26, 2016

What is the Trouble?

Eel is living on his own, trying to stay hidden from his evil stepfather. Eel’s brother is tucked away somewhere safe out of the dangerous hands of the man who is supposed to be watching over them now that their mother has passed. Although he is only 13, Eel spends his life on the streets and in the mud looking for coins and treasure. He'll do any odd job to help make some extra money to support his younger brother. When people in his favorite neighborhood start falling ill from “the blue death” Eel is asked to help remove the bodies. It's scary and worrisome. No one seems to know what is happening and why people are dying so suddenly. Is the sickness traveling through the air? Eel and his friend get the opportunity to help the famous Dr. Snow look into the matter. Will they be able to figure out the reason for the sickness and stop it before it wipes out the whole neighborhood? Journey back to 1854 to see science in action!

When I started The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel I knew it was historical fiction, but I did not realize how engrossed in the story I would become. Although I had heard of cholera, it was something I did not know very much about. I loved learning about it through Eel’s spunky voice. I applauded his sheer determination. He's a great character who puts others ahead of himself while he struggles to survive. I found it fascinating to learn about how maps were made and the scientific approach used to figure out an epidemic like the one in the book. It was also interesting to think about the water wells that were used at the time and people carrying the water home and using it for days. Now we are so fortunate (where I live) to have water coming out of our faucets. I know many places around the world are not so lucky. I would recommend this book to anyone in fourth grade and up who likes history and a story that has some very real dangers. I have found that my favorite way to learn about history is through reading historical fiction novels. They really bring the time to life and help me remember what happened far more than memorizing facts from a book. You won't be disappointed as you get to know Eel, Dr. Snow and the other host of characters in this book

Has anyone else read The Great Trouble? Or have you read another book by Deborah Hopkinson? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Happy Reading! 

40 comments:

  1. Eel - great name.
    I don't know much about cholera either. You're right that we are so fortunate to have clean running water.

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    1. Alex- Eel is an awesome name! Always fun to learn while reading. :) ~L

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  2. Sounds fascinating; a great one for perhaps young ones to be grateful for what they have now with clean running water!

    betty

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  3. Great review! Sounds like an intriguing book.

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  4. Clean running water can't be overlooked indeed. Sounds like a good one.

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    1. Pat- Clean water is amazing! :) ~L

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  5. I haven't really read this but I love books like this!

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    1. Patty- Me too! You will enjoy this one! :) ~L

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  6. I definitely will be on the look out for this book. It sounds fascinating. Thanks for the post.

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    1. Rosi- It is! I think you will enjoy it. :) ~L

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  7. If only history was more often taught as a snapshot into our predecessors lives rather than dates, rulers, battles I suspect more of us would be hooked.
    This book sounds like a gem - thank you.

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    1. EC- You are so right! History would come alive if we looked at it as a snapshot. :) ~L

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  8. I have never read this book but it does sound really interesting... and I am incredibly grateful that I live with running water... what a blessing that is xox

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    1. Launna- It is a great book and running water is priceless. :) ~L

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  9. I don't know much about cholera, either. I probably should read this one! I agree with Elephant's Child. One thing that always bored me about history in school was we were just memorizing dates and events. I am MUCH more fascinated by the people who lived during that time and what their lives were like.

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    1. Stephanie- Isn't it much more interesting to learn stories about people living during different times? So much better! :) ~L

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  10. Oh my goodness I am adding this one to my TBR! It sounds EPIC. First of all, that cover is just beautiful. I've also been in the mood for mysteries lately, so this is right up my alley. And historical fiction too, to top it all of. Gimme please :3

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    1. Olivia-Savannah, I love the cover too! A mystery and history together- perfect! Glad this one sounds appealing to you. :) ~L

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  11. I do like the cover and the font they've used. However I'd never read the book since I find books which put kids in such situations vile and irresponsible.

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    1. Dezmond- It is a tough situation, but one that was very real in the time in which the book is set. I agree that the cover is great. :) ~L

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  12. I'm in awe of people who write historical fiction. So much research, so much hard work. I doubt Dezmond (above) realizes that prior to the 20th century, children were regularly put in dangerous situations, like child labor, insane asylums, and in prison with adults. Deborah's book reflects the reality of the times as do many books that cover that era, including Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist.

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    1. Lexa- I am in awe of writers of HF too! So much research! It is amazing to read about what children went through in different time periods. ~L

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  13. We can learn a lot from historical fiction, and not all of it is pretty.

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  14. This looks awesome! I love a good scientific historical perspective :) And I'm a bit partial to the name Dr Snow ;)

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    1. Meradeth- This is a great book to make kids realize the importance of science and history. :) ~L

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  15. Hi Jess - fascinating ... looks to be a fun book for the kids and relates to a thesis I found ... where an electric eel comes to the fore. So Blue Death - makes sense and Eel slathering around in the mud ... bet it's a great story - cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary- I love the connections you made! ~Jess

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  16. Thanks for sharing. Glad that you really enjoyed this one. :) I do like historical fiction, but I haven't read as many historical fiction MG novels. I suppose I read more of them when I was younger so I need to get updated.

    -Lauren

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    1. Lauren- MG HF novels are a great way to learn about history and this is one that really made an impact on me. :) ~L

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  17. Sounds a fantastic story. Thanks for sharing about it.

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  18. I haven't read it, but it sounds like a great book. I agree about historical fiction. It often gets me interested in certain time periods or people in history, and I'll want to learn more!

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    1. Dawn- I feel like the history I really remember is because of HF and the stories that bring different time periods to life. :) ~L

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  19. I have this on my list of to-reads. What a cover and blurb. I love learning about history through historical fiction, too. Think it's difficult learning from non-fiction, for me.

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    1. Claudine- I am exactly the same way. The facts and time period don't stick with me when I read NF like they do when I read HF. I hope you enjoy this one! :) ~L

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