AN Orange for Frankie

Overview


The Stowell family is abuzz with holiday excitement, and Frankie, the youngest boy, is the most excited of all. But there's a cloud over the joyous season: Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and Pa hasn't returned yet from his trip to Lansing. He promised to bring back the oranges for the mantelpiece. Every year there are nine of them nestled among the evergreens, one for each of the children. But this year, heavy snows might mean no oranges . . . and, worse, no Pa!
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Overview


The Stowell family is abuzz with holiday excitement, and Frankie, the youngest boy, is the most excited of all. But there's a cloud over the joyous season: Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and Pa hasn't returned yet from his trip to Lansing. He promised to bring back the oranges for the mantelpiece. Every year there are nine of them nestled among the evergreens, one for each of the children. But this year, heavy snows might mean no oranges . . . and, worse, no Pa!
This is a holiday story close to Patricia Polacco's heart. Frankie was her grandmother's youngest brother, and every year she and her family remember this tale of a little boy who learned--and taught--an important lesson about giving, one Christmas long ago
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Holiday treats abound in a colorful and touching story of generosity and the ties that bind, based on a story of the author's great-uncle. Young Frankie, along with his eight siblings and Ma, awaits Pa's return home from a trip to get the precious Christmas oranges he buys each year. But blizzard-like weather slows Pa's travels. In the meantime, the family fills the days baking, decorating and fixing a hearty feast for the hobos aboard the train that stops near their property. Pa makes it home in time and the oranges play an especially important role in the clan's celebration. A subplot about Frankie's selflessness adds depth. Several pencil-and-watercolor scenes of the black freight train in a wintry rural landscape as well as close-up portraits of the gathered family and the haunted looking hobos are among Polacco's best work. Ages 5-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
If you are a Polacco fan than you know that her books reflect a family experience, and that she has a way of tugging at the hearts of her readers. This offering is no different. It is set back in the Depression when times were tough and when getting an orange for Christmas was really quite a gift. There is more to the story than that as we learn of the generosity of the Stowell family who feed the hobos traveling on the trains and of young Frankie who gives an shivering old man his beautiful hand-knit sweater. The large family is preparing for Christmas and is very concerned because Pa hasn't returned from picking up the oranges. The weather is quite cold and the snowstorm seems to be a real impediment to his arrival home for Christmas. Happily he does make it and so do the oranges. Frankie is so entranced by his that he touches it before heading off for the Christmas pageant and doesn't have time to put it back on the mantel. Telling the rest of the story would not be fair, but it has a warm wonderful ending. The only really sad part is reading the author's note at the end. Polacco's loose watercolor and pencil drawings show a familiar cast of characters and readers will feel like they have once again stepping into the lives of this fascinating family of Polacco's. 2004, Philomel, Ages 4 up.
—Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-The author/illustrator has turned again to her family history for this story of a Christmas long ago in rural Michigan. The plot is predictable, revolving around Pa's late return from Lansing with the traditional nine oranges, one for each child; 10-year-old Frankie's generosity to a hobo; and the boy's subsequent loss of his orange. Polacco's watercolor-and-pencil illustrations are well rendered as always and appropriate for this slight but wordy, nostalgic tale.-V. W. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Polacco again mines her family history for a true story based on her grandmother's large family. Frankie is the youngest son in a big family of nine children, with everyone working together on their farm in Michigan. The story takes place during the Christmas when Frankie is ten, when his father is delayed by blizzards when he goes by horse and buggy to buy the oranges for the traditional family Christmas treat. Polacco reveals Frankie's personality through several incidents, one involving the loss of his special orange. Introductory and closing notes introduce the family history and explain that Frankie died following this last Christmas. The longer story provides lots of details of 1900s-era farm life and Christmas celebrations, augmented by Polacco's fine watercolor-and-pencil illustrations of snowy Michigan scenes and the crowded farm house. Told with a sentimental, old-fashioned tone that works well with the setting, this occasionally crosses over into the maudlin, especially in the sections that deal with Frankie's death; Polacco's illustrations, however, are timeless in their portrayal of a happy family enjoying life together. (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399243028
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/21/2004
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 464,576
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.36 (w) x 11.27 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Polacco
Patricia Polacco
Patricia Polacco lives in Union City, Michigan.
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 26, 2012

    I have loved this woman's work for years! No one comes close to

    I have loved this woman's work for years! No one comes close to delivering heartfelt personal experiences. This latest book is just another example of her artistry! No one should miss the experience of her books!

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  • Posted January 31, 2012

    Check it out!!

    This book has become a family Christmas tradition. We read it and then eat a chocolate orange together, while sharing a happy thought. Patricia Polacco is a talented author. Amazing stories and amazing illustrations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2007

    A reviewer

    You¿ll really want to eat an orange after you read this book. This book is about the Stowell¿s Christmas. Frankie, the youngest boy in the Stowell¿s family, gave a hobo his sweatshirt because the hobo only had a jacket. Every Christmas, Frankie, his brothers, and his sisters get a juicy sweet orange from their dad, who goes to Florida to get them. This time their dad arrived later than expected because of the bad weather. When their dad arrives they set the oranges on the mantle, but Frankie can¿t resist touching the orange. When he puts the orange in his coat pocket and looses it, he finds the true meaning of Christmas.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2007

    An Orange For Frankie

    I thought this book was amazing! This book was about the Stowell household that has nine children. Their pa was coming home from Florida to get some oranges and they live in Michigan. Their pa had never come home this late and they think something happened to him. This story was about how miracles can come true. I would recommend this book to whoever does not know the meaning of Christmas.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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