Sunday, March 16, 2008

26 Fairmount Avenue by Tomie dePaola

26 Fairmount Avenue is named for the address of 4-year-old Tomie's new house being built in 1938, and 1938 was full of grand events in Tomie’s life.

A hurricane hit his hometown of Meriden, Connecticut. Tomie witnessed a boy fly in the air under an umbrella just like Mary Poppins!

Walt Disney released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Tomie gets to stay by himself after Mom takes terrified brother Buddy to the lobby, but the movie doesn’t meet Tomie’s expectations. “The story’s not over yet,” Tomie yells in the theater. “Where’s the wedding? Where’re the red-hot iron shoes that they put on the Evil Queen so she dances herself to death? Mr. Walt Disney didn’t read the story right!”

Tomie gets to start kindergarten, but when his teacher says students don’t learn to read until first grade, Tomie matter-of-factly states, “Fine, I’ll be back next year,” and goes home.

Most importantly Tomie’s family is building a new house on Fairmount Avenue, and that is an adventure all its own. The hill on which the house is built grows (really!). The street turns to mud. There’s a fire (but not the house). Finally, after a long wait, the family moves in.

Readers will love learning more and more about Tomie and his extended family. As the series continues, Tomie grows into first and second grade and eventually relates how World War II affects him and his family. Throughout the series dePaola’s voice never wavers, always accurately displaying childhood innocence through humor and joy, but also through sadness and warmth.

Other books in the 26 Fairmount Avenue series: Here We All Are, On My Way, What a Year, Things Will Never Be the Same, I'm Still Scared, and Why?.

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