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Fever 1793 Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Anderson, Laurie Halse

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ISBN: 0689848919     ISBN-13: 9780689848919
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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Binding Type: Paperback - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: March 2002

Annotation: In 1793, the Cook Coffeehouse outside Philadelphia is a haven for those fleeing from the fever sweeping across the mosquito-infested city. Fourteen-year-old Mattie Cook has just lost her childhood playmate to the fever and struggles to keep her family and her family's business alive.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Yellow fever; Pennsylvania; Philadelphia; Fiction.
Epidemics; Fiction.
Survival; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: BL2002001977
Lexile Measure: 580
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 7.50" H x 5.00" W x 0.75" (0.40 lbs) 251 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 42961
Reading Level: 4.4   Interest Level: Upper Grades   Point Value: 7.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q22163
Reading Level: 7.6   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 13.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Publisher Description:
During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out.

Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie's world upside down. At her feverish mother's insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2001 Spring)
Yellow fever is sweeping through Philadelphia, and for young Mattie, the epidemic begins with the sudden death of a friend. While Anderson smoothly incorporates extensive research into her story, the plot itself is less involving than the situation. However, most will appreciate this book for its portrayal of a fascinating and terrifying time in American history. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Guide Reviews

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2000 #5)
For fourteen-year-old Mattie Cook, the epidemic begins with the news of the sudden and unexpected death of her childhood friend Polly. It is summer 1793, and yellow fever is sweeping through Philadelphia; the death toll will reach five thousand (ten percent of the city's population) before the frost. Mattie, her mother, and grandfather run a coffeehouse on High Street, and when others flee the city, they choose to stay-until Mattie's mother is stricken. Sent away by her mother to escape contagion, Mattie tries to leave, is turned back by quarantine officers, falls ill herself, and is taken to Bush Hill, a city hospital run by the celebrated French doctor Steven Girard. Without ever being didactic, Anderson smoothly incorporates extensive research into her story, using dialogue, narration, and Mattie's own witness to depict folk remedies, debates over treatment, market shortages, the aid work done by free blacks to care for and bury the victims, the breakdown of Philadelphia society, and countless tales of sufferers and survivors. With such a wealth of historical information (nicely set forth in a highly readable appendix), it's a shame that the plot itself is less involving than the situation. While Mattie is tenacious and likable, her adventures are a series of episodes only casually related to the slender narrative arc in which she wonders if her mother has survived the fever and whether they will be reunited. Subplots concerning Mattie's own entrepreneurial ambitions and her budding romance with a painter apprenticed to the famous Peale family wait offstage until the end of the book. Still, Anderson has gone far to immerse her readers in the world of the 1793 epidemic; most will appreciate this book for its portrayal of a fascinating and terrifying time in American history. anita l. burkam Copyright 2000 Horn Book Reviews

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2002 March #1)
PW called this ambitious novel about the yellow fever epidemic that ravaged 18th-century Philadelphia "extremely well researched. However, larger scale views take precedence over the kind of intimate scenes that Anderson crafted so masterfully in Speak." Ages 10-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2000 July #5)
The opening scene of Anderson's ambitious novel about the yellow fever epidemic that ravaged Philadelphia in the late 18th century shows a hint of the gallows humor and insight of her previous novel, Speak. Sixteen-year-old Matilda "Mattie" Cook awakens in the sweltering summer heat on August 16th, 1793, to her mother's command to rouse and with a mosquito buzzing in her ear. She shoos her cat from her mother's favorite quilt and thinks to herself, "I had just saved her precious quilt from disaster, but would she appreciate it? Of course not." Mattie's wit again shines through several chapters later during a visit to her wealthy neighbors' house, the Ogilvies. Having refused to let their serving girl, Eliza, coif her for the occasion, Mattie regrets it as soon as she lays eyes on the Ogilvie sisters, who wear matching bombazine gowns, curly hair piled high on their heads ("I should have let Eliza curl my hair. Dash it all"). But thereafter, Mattie's character development, as well as those of her grandfather and widowed mother, takes a back seat to the historical details of Philadelphia and environs. Extremely well researched, Anderson's novel paints a vivid picture of the seedy waterfront, the devastation the disease wreaks on a once thriving city, and the bitterness of neighbor toward neighbor as those suspected of infection are physically cast aside. However, these larger scale views take precedence over the kind of intimate scenes that Anderson crafted so masterfully in Speak. Scenes of historical significance, such as George Washington returning to Philadelphia, then the nation's capital, to signify the end of the epidemic are delivered with more impact than scenes of great personal significance to Mattie. Ages 10-14. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2000 August)
Gr 6-10-The sights, sounds, and smells of Philadelphia when it was still the nation's capital are vividly re-created in this well-told tale of a girl's coming-of-age, hastened by the outbreak of yellow fever. As this novel opens, Matilda Cook, 14, wakes up grudgingly to face another hot August day filled with the chores appropriate to the daughter of a coffeehouse owner. At its close, four months later, she is running the coffeehouse, poised to move forward with her dreams. Ambitious, resentful of the ordinary tedium of her life, and romantically imaginative, Matilda is a believable teenager, so immersed in her own problems that she can describe the freed and widowed slave who works for her family as the "luckiest" person she knows. Ironically, it is Mattie who is lucky in the loyalty of Eliza. The woman finds medical help when Mattie's mother falls ill, takes charge while the girl is sent away to the countryside, and works with the Free African Society. She takes Mattie in after her grandfather dies, and helps her reestablish the coffeehouse. Eliza's story is part of an important chapter in African-American history, but it is just one of many facets of this story of an epidemic. Mattie's friend Nathaniel, apprentice to the painter Master Peale, emerges as a clear partner in her future. There are numerous eyewitness accounts of the devastation by Dr. Benjamin Rush and other prominent Philadelphians of the day. Readers will be drawn in by the characters and will emerge with a sharp and graphic picture of another world.-Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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