The Busiest Street in Town written by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Sarah McMenemy A Picture Book that Looks at Community and Social Responsibility published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Agatha May Walker and Eulalie Scruggs have known each other for a very long time. Friends since infancy, they live across the street from each other and are now both gray-haired. Observant children will notice that their neighborhood has changed dramatically since their youth. Whereas their street was once a tree-lined place where children could play, it is now choked with relentless traffic. It is very difficult to cross – even when one is carrying gingersnaps for a neighbor.
Agatha decides that it is time to take a stand – or more accurately – a seat. She moves her wingback chair into the middle of the noisy, smog-filled street and sits amid the trucks, motorcycles and cars. She begins to hand out gingersnaps. Soon Eulalie joins her. She brings her Parcheesi game and suddenly neighbors appear and Rushmore Boulevard is transformed into a place where children play and neighbors chat.
Beautiful flowers are planted, a street party is held and the neighbors create a vibrant small community.
Vivid water color illustrations highlight the dramatic changes on Rushmore Street. Instead of a sooty, grey thoroughfare, it is friendly, neighborhood that is crowded with pedestrians.
Recommended for children aged four and up. Take time to ‘read’ the endpapers. They tell part of the story.
Timmerman Was Here written by Colleen Sydor and illustrated by Nicolas Debon Picture book highlighting social responsibility published by Tundra Books
Tuesday evening, November 9th, 2010, the winner of the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award was announced at The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s gala. Jury members’ comments about Timmerman Was Here were as follows, “This is a sublimely humanistic and memorable story about the way we discover the difference between truth and appearances… Dramatic pictures equally involve the reader, while the artistic use of dark and light further affect our emotional response… This intriguing tale with a twist delves exceptionally well into values and perceptions, the rational and the irrational, achieving a conclusion that is profoundly self-affirming for the child… This emotionally rich and suspenseful story is capped by an uplifting ending that will stir hearts from 8 to 80… A perfect pairing of text and illustration.”
Timmerman Was Here is written from the perspective of a young girl. We share her nervousness as a stranger arrives at her home. The stranger moves into a bedroom, recently vacated by the girl’s grandfather who has gone to live in a residence for seniors. The young girl is not happy about the stranger’s arrival but as she watches and interacts with him, she discovers a gentle heart. When the stranger is discovered walking the neighbourhood at night (with a spade and a burlap sack), gossip abounds. The neighbours speculate that he could be a bank robber or responsible for the death of a cat.
Timmerman Was Here is a lovely, thought-provoking picture book that encourages the reader to rethink assumptions and stereotypes. Highly recommended.
Tackling all sorts of missteps and awkward social situations, Oh, How Sylvester Can Pester!: And Other Poems More or Less About Manners offers twenty poetic suggestions for demonstrating good manners for children. Covering topics as diverse as picky eating and tardiness, talking during a movie and sneezing in public, this book of poetry and good manners has been illustrated cheerfully with a diverse cast of ill-mannered characters.
Probably best suited to a classroom or library, readers will appreciate the lighthearted approach –
When someone is speaking- a grown-up, let’s say-
can you interrupt? In general, no way.
There’re exceptions to that, but they’re rare.
They occur in those instances where lightning is flashing its bolts from the sky
and they’d land on your friend, or at least land nearby.”
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