Published by: Clarion Books, Imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co 2012
Ages: 4 – 8 years
Theme: diversity, honesty, adventure
Opening Lines: “Shoeshine, mister?” “Scuse me. Shoeshine?” “Would you like a shoeshine lady?”
Synopsis: (From Amazon) – 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 clothes-lines, 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. There is a cheerful side to a neighbourhood packed with people of different origins—the opportunity to make friends across race lines, culture lines, and clothes-lines!
Why I like this: The style is similar to a comic book, with a series of panels on each page, showing the action progressing is really fun. I love the way how the young boy ambles up the fire escape, tiptoes, balancing across the clothesline into the lives and different languages of his neighbourhood. The illustrations lend it a feeling of the turn of century New York. Colours are mostly muted (browns and black & white and pale blues) so that the reds, which play into the heart of the story stand out. The back page has a small glossary of language definitions. Kids will love rereading this if only to check out what they missed in the illustrations the first time. With such minimal text there is ample opportunity for discussion and one’s own interpretation.
Resources/Findings: Download a pdf of the story…. http://freebookspot.tk/13202081/laundry-day.html
Some questions to ask the class to write down are… How many uses could the scarf be used? How many different countries/languages were mentioned? How many Siminski girls were there? How many children did Fanny Finnigan have? What colour are Rabbi Shulevitz prayer shawls?
Fun things for kids to do in NYC… http://www.travelforkids.com/Funtodo/New_York/new-york-city.htm
Information on NYC for kids…. http://encyclopedia.kids.net.au/page/ne/New_York_City
I’m always pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view. So pop over and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books. Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors.