Fleabrain Loves Franny: 10/22/15
Book themes come in clusters. Right now it's new children's books inspired by old children's books. Right now it's A Wrinkle in Time and Charlotte's Web constantly showing up as fictional children's favorite books.
Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin is set in the same year that Charlotte's Web is published. Franny Katzenback is recovering from polio and doesn't want to face a life of paralysis. She escapes from her reality through a book one of the nurses reads to her — Charlotte's Web.
Meanwhile, there is a flea who sees Franny's plight and decides to take on the role of Charlotte. His goal is to help Franny through her recovery. In a rather Edward Eagar or Mary Norton fashion, he grants Franny's wishes, though not as she intends them.
As a side plot there's the research by Salk on the polio vaccine. Franny has to live with the reality of just missing a vaccine that could have prevented the disease that has so disrupted her life.