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.
"Drawn from their beds by noises downstairs, the narrator and her little brother, Tito, peer into the kitchen to find that their parents have turned dinner cleanup into a rambunctious, Latin-flavored song and dance number. Mama swishes her ruffled skirt and Papa croons into a wooden spoon ("¡Cómo te quiero! Oh, how I love you. Umm, hmm"). The performance reaches its peak with a flourish worthy of Fred and Ginger: My mother twists, and my father catches her by the waist and bends her low,” writes Manning (The Aunts Go Marching
), mixing awe with incredulity. There is silence for a moment.” As the rounded, sculptural bodies of the couple move about the kitchen with humor and grace, the illustrations take on a cinematic sense of motion and space. This is Manning's most exuberant work yet, a winning tribute to happy feet and happy families." --Publishers Weekly
"Scrape! Splash! Clunk! Clang!...I hear kitchen sounds," says the curly-headed marrator as she and her little brother Tito wake up to the sounds of their parents' kitchen dance. Creeping downstairs, they see mother and father as "[s]ide by side with stacked plates they glide," turning the routine of washing-up into a loving and even rather sexy tango. When Mama spots the two children, she and Papa sweep them up into an affectionate foursome, all singing, "¡Cómo te quiero!" Manning depicts this Afro-Latino family with verve, tilted angles and bright colors providing movement, and warmth as tall, skinny Papa and slightly zaftig Mama strut their stuff. It's In the Night Kitchen decloaked; how salutary for children---protagonists and readers both---to see a set of parents loving each other with suh abandon and enthusiasm. Their joyful inclusion of the kids makes this book read like one long, wonderful hug---as the narrator says, after being tucked back into bed with a couple extra besitos, "Umm, hmm." --Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review "A young girl lies in bed listening to the sounds emanating from the kitchen. "Scrape! Splash! Clunk! Clang!...Then something else-a deep voice humming a tune, and someone laughing." She wakes up her brother, Tito, "Oye! Do you hear?" Together they tiptoe down the stairs, peek into the kitchen, and gaze upon a playful and obviously happy couple. Their father is singing to their mother in Spanish and English, using a wooden spoon as a microphone, "¡Cómo te quiero! Oh how I love you." They dance around the kitchen drying dishes, opening and closing cabinets, oblivious to all except one another. Then Mama spots the two children. "Hola!" she says. She picks up the girl, Papa picks up the boy-now they all sing. "Oh, how I love you!" as they "twirl around and around in a circle of family." Faces nestled, the children grow sleepy and are carried back upstairs. "Sweet dreams." Full of vitality, simple, and touching, this picture book presents a celebration of family through words and exprssive, exuberant pictures. Wonderful." --School Library Journal
"Everything teems with movement and life--completely beguiling."--Kirkus, starred review
"Everything teems with movement and life--completely beguiling."--Kirkus, starred review "There's much to discover in the varied, well-paced frames of this graphic picture book."--Horn Book "A vivid, warmhearted picture book...Manning's pages are exuberance itself as her hero balletically bounds from frame to frame."--Publishers Weekly, starred review "[A] charming picture book with graphic-novel elements...The atmospheric illustrations will draw in young readers and make them feel as if they are pushing their way through the crowded streets, climbing up fire escapes, and swinging from laundry lines along with the shoeshine boy."--School Library Journal "The hustle-and-bustle setting provides another visual treat, matched by the warm exuberance of the boy's neighborly adventure."--Booklist
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.