Author: Moss, Marissa
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.
Kirkus Reviews (02/01/21)
School Library Journal (+) (03/01/21)
The Hornbook (00/07/21)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2021 Gr 1–2—In the late 19th century, hospitals didn't know how to care for premature babies and believed they were "doomed to die." However, one young doctor believed he had the answer. Dr. Martin Couney of Germany asked Empress Augusta Victoria to allow him to care for babies from her hospital in his newly invented baby incubators. Empress Victoria approved his request. Couney created a traveling showcase of the world's tiniest babies, first in exhibition halls and world fairs, then finally settling into a permanent spot on Coney Island in 1903. Babies received the best care from a dedicated and trained nursing staff, paid for by the entrance fees to see the exhibit. Babies of all races, religions, and backgrounds were accepted. Couney generated as much publicity as he could. He hired carnival barkers to advertise the exhibit and emphasized the small size of the babies by dressing them in oversized clothes and bows. The public loved watching the tiny tots grow and thrive, but it was the hospitals that Couney hoped to convince—he wanted incubators in every hospital. Over the years, Couney saved 6,500 babies, many of whom came back to thank him when they grew up. Moss turns a little-known historical subject into a poignant and readable picture book. In particular, the direct and clear approach to explaining the needs and the care of premature babies is handled well. The soft illustrations and the heartwarming approach make this story beautiful and relevant to all families. VERDICT A moving must-have for every nonfiction collection.—Savannah Kitchens, Parnell Memorial Lib., Montevallo, AL - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 08/01/2021 At the 1896 Great Industrial Exposition of Berlin, Dr. Martin Couney demonstrated the use of incubators in saving the lives of premature babies. Soon afterward, he immigrated to America and, from 1903 to 1943, staffed and ran an infant-care facility on the boardwalk on Coney Island, complete with a barker to bring in viewers to see the babies in their incubators. Although the location was unconventional, Couney was serious about his mission to give these preemies the best possible care and to show that incubators provided the healthiest environment for them. Statistics backed up his belief, and, gradually, incubators became standard equipment in American hospitals. Moss, whose previous picture-book biographies include Kate Warne, Pinkerton Detective (2017) and Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee (2009), tells a story grounded in facts and full of human interest. Who could have predicted that Couney’s own child, born prematurely, would begin life in one of Couney’s incubators? With curving lines and warm colors, the illustrations create a genial tone while transporting viewers to a bygone era. An intriguing picture book. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.