It’s 1952, the year Charlotte’s Web was published and the year of the horrific polio outbreak. Francine Katzenback is a victim of the dreaded virus and is confined to a wheelchair. The public is panicked, consumed in fear of the contagious virus, leaving Frannie isolated and lonely. She is befriended by a flea. That’s right. A well-read, intelligent, magical flea named Fleabrain who adores Frannie. Together they challenge the boundaries of reality, fantasy, truthfulness, and authentic friendship.
Fleabrain Loves Frannie (Amulet Books, 2014) is soundly rooted in the history of the day. In it, the reader meets Dr. Salk, the researcher who invented the polio vaccine; learns about the historical community effort to defeat the disease; and comes to understand the inner tenacity it takes to believe in oneself when all one possesses is the everlasting love of a flea (or a spider, in Wilbur’s case).
Bravo, Joanne Rocklin! You are one amazing writer!