In the late 19th century, there wasn’t much hope for premature babies—until Dr. Couney developed the incubator. The device was so new and strange, hospitals rejected it. So Dr. Couney set up a sideshow at Coney Island, taking care of the tiniest newborns as part of a display to convince the public that incubators worked. Thousands of babies grew into healthy children as Boardwalk Babies, including Dr. Couney’s own premature daughter. Many of those babies came back as adults to thank the doctor for his miracle cures. Science meets magic show in this fascinating true story.
|Interest Level||Grade 2 - Grade 5|
|Reading Level||Grade 3|
|Category||5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Narrative Nonfiction, Science|
|Number of Pages||40|
“Moss . . . tells a story grounded in facts and full of human interest . . . With curving lines and warm colors, the illustrations create a genial tone while transporting viewers to a bygone era. An intriguing picture book.”—Booklist Online
The Horn Book Magazine
“In a remarkable true story, Moss introduces Dr. Martin Couney, a doctor with a flair for showmanship who used expositions and eventually the Coney Island Boardwalk to build public trust for a new idea that could save ‘doomed to die’ premature babies: ‘warming boxes,’ or incubators . . . Chu’s cartoony illustrations . . . have an old-timey charm full of detailed period dress and very appealing itty-bitty babies.”—Horn Book Magazine
School Library Journal
“Moss turns a little-known historical subject into a poignant and readable picture book. . . .The soft illustrations and the heartwarming approach make this story beautiful and relevant to all families.”—starred, School Library Journal
Moss . . . surveys the use of premature infants as sideshow entertainment in this informative overview of pioneering pediatric history . . . this narrative nonfiction account will prove absorbing."—Publisher’s Weekly
“This smoothly written account of little-known events results in a heartwarming story that will help develop audience empathy. Appealing illustrations capture the period and ambiance nicely and depict winsome infants of different races and ethnicities. . . A thought-provoking telling of an unusual historical episode.”—Kirkus Reviews
Author: Marissa Moss
Marissa Moss is the best-selling author of the Amelia’s Notebook series. Her recent historical biographies have won many awards, including the California Young Reader Medal and Excellence in Graphic Literature. You can read more about her books at marissamoss.com.
Illustrator: April Chu
April Chu has won awards for her gorgeous illustrations. She studied architecture and infuses that knowledge of detail and perspective into her art. Her work has been featured in the Society of Illustrator's Original Art show.
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In the late 19th century, there wasn’t much hope for premature babies—until Dr. Couney developed the incubator. The device was so new and strange, hospitals rejected it. So Dr. Couney set up a sideshow at Coney Island, taking care of the tiniest newborns as part of a display to… View available downloads →