Synopses & Reviews
In this picture-book-level "graphic novel," a blend of realism and fantasy, clotheslines zigzag across the space between rows of tenement buildings, and a shoeshine boy is surprised when a piece of red silk falls from the sky. He wants to return it to its owner, a quest that takes him up and down fire escapes, back and forth across the clotheslines, and into the company of the colorfully diverse people who live in the apartments: Chinese, Italian, Irish, a rabbi, a prospector, a dressmaker. . . Each sends him on his way, with a moon cake or a cookie, in search of the real owner, and at the end he is happily (magically?) rewarded for his determined integrity. Lively pages laid out in multiple panels, with a few words of text in dialogue balloons, capture the exhilarating action. There is a cheerful side to a neighborhood packed with people of different origins--the opportunity to make friends across race lines, culture lines, and clotheslines!
"In a vivid, warmhearted picture book that unfolds in graphic novel style panels, a shoeshine boy living in a 1900s immigrant neighborhood (think New York City's Lower East Side) unexpectedly finds a bright red scarf. Determined to locate its owner, the boy embarks on a grand tour of the tenements, meeting Chinese, Polish, Italian, Ukrainian, Jamaican, and Yiddish-speaking inhabitants (a short glossary concludes the book), and earning a mooncake, pennies, and even a bowl of matzo ball soup for his efforts. ('Such a good boy, to come all this way,' says Rabbi Shulevitz's wife.) Manning's pages are exuberance itself as her hero balletically bounds from frame to frame, leaping onto fire escapes, scrambling up and shimmying down water pipes, and using clotheslines as a tightrope and zip line. Manning (Kitchen Dance) may be stretching history slightly to imagine so many different nationalities inhabiting this environment (the demographics could be more 21st-century than 20th), but what really matters is that at every stop, the shoeshine boy finds that the global village is a welcoming, benevolent place. Ages 4 8. Agent: Scott Treimel, Scott Treimel NY." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
This graphic novel-style picture book takes us on the quest of a shoe-shine boy through busy, multicultural tenements to return a piece of silk to its rightful owner. Meeting a host of colorful characters along the way, this lively picture book lets us make friends across race lines, culture lines, and clotheslines!
In a picture book that blends realism and fantasy, a shoeshine boy is surprised when a
piece of red silk falls from the sky. Trying to find its owner, he ventures up and down
fire escapes, back and forth across clotheslines, and into the company of the colorfully
diverse people who live in the tenement. Lively pages laid out in multiple panels, with
a few words of text in dialogue balloons, capture the exhilarating action, and foreignlanguage
phrases are translated on the endpapers. There is a cheerful side to a neighborhood
packed with people of different originsand#8212;the opportunity to make friends
across race lines, culture lines, and clotheslines!
A little girl wakes in the night to mysterious, inviting noises. She rouses her brother, and they sneak downstairs and peek into the kitchen. To their amazement and delight, their parents are dancing and singing---"?Como te quiero! Oh, how I love you!" ---as they clean up and put food away. Mama and Papa discover the two kids and sweep them into the embrace of a family dance. Slowly, the song changes to a lullaby. . . the children close sleepy eyes. . . then Mama and Papa tuck them into bed again. The story reads like poetry. The art moves from subdued tones to hot tropical colors and back again. And as you turn the pages, you can almost hear the music---changing from a pop ballad to a hot tango to a cozy lullaby. All in all, it's a perfect bedtime book, with a satisfying hugs-and-kisses ending.
About the Author
Maurie J. Manning is the author/illustrator of "The Aunts Go Marching," an IRA Notable Book (2003, Boyds Mills Press) and the illustrator of many other titles. For this book, her Clarion debut, she drew inspiration from the Latino American branch of her family. She and her children live in Berkeley, California.