Fred & Marjorie: a doctor, a dog and the discovery of insulin
By Deborah Kerbel
Illustrated by Angela Poon
Fred & Marjorie: A Doctor, a Dog, and the Discovery of Insulin is a non-fiction junior selection in a “graphic novel format.” The setting is the University of Toronto, Canada in the 1920s. The clear text and realistic illustrations in soft colors make this a most enjoyable read.
Dr. Frederick Banting was a penniless surgeon who was inspired by the discovery of a cure for childhood diabetes, a disease that at the time
was fatal. With the help of a student assistant, Charles Best, they came up with a plan that involved using stray dogs. Read to find out what procedure they used with the dogs. A chart on page 21 will help you easily understand the procedure.
The practice of using animals in experiments broke Dr. Banting’s heart, as he had grown up on a farm and loved animals. He has especially
fell in love with a wanderer he named Marjorie. Marjorie survived the longest of any dog given the experimental treatment. She has been dubbed “the most important dog in the world”.
At the back of the book, author’s notes offer factual information and photographs of Marjorie, Dr. Banting, Charles Best, dog 408, and a handwritten note from Dr. Banting outlining his diabetes treatment plan. The “ethical dilemma” of using animals for research is also addressed.