Dr. York, Miss Winnie, and the Typhoid Shot

Dr. York, Miss Winnie, and the Typhoid Shot (audio cassette) by Donald Davis. Little Rock, AR: August House, 1997. $12.00 56 minutes ISBN 0-87483-506-2  Order on-line from

Donald Davis fans, and I know they are legion, can look forward to three new digital recordings from him in September. What a far cry these are from the very early (self-produced?) recordings of his stories. I have some of those, and as wonderful as the stories were, that's just about how bad the quality was. There's no question, though, that these new recordings are top notch.

The Dr. York tape has two health-related stories on it. In the first, Donald describes the terrors of the annual typhoid shot administered by Dr. York's nurse Miss Winnie, who was mean, ugly, and specially built so she would never blow away in a hard wind. Young Donald is determined not to get his shot, but Miss Winnie and his mother are equally determined that he will, even if it means chasing him around and around the office. The second story tells of the time when Donald and his brother must go to the hospital for tonsillectomies. At the hospital Donald meets his first nuns and is assured that they will "take care of him." Unfortunately, he recognizes that as the same phrase that was used when a neighbour's dog was put down.

I normally think of Davis' stories as being for older children and adults, but the telling of Dr. York sounds to me as if he is aiming at a younger audience. Sound effects that I thought were getting close to being over the top delighted my 10 year old no end. We listened to this tape and compared it to the shorter, somewhat lower key telling of "Miss Winnie" on the NAPPS 20th Anniversary Festival tape, and my daughter declared this one her favourite.

As usual, Davis draws on the human heart as he creates characters and situations that are universal and true. He takes equal doses of poignancy and humour and mixes them up in a prescription guaranteed to warm the heart and tickle the funny bone.

The Second Story Review, Vol 2 , No. 2, June 1997

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