Boys Here - Girls There

Boys Here - Girls There

by Riki Levinson, Karen Ritz

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-- In this sequel to DinnieAbbieSister-r-r! (Bradbury, 1987), Jennie is a year older, ready to begin first grade in Brooklyn. The Depression has forced Papa to close his business, so Mama must work until their new baby is born. Levinson has once again captured the essence of a struggling Jewish family's life during a specific time period. Traditional roles are challenged and maintained; Mama becomes the breadwinner while Jennie cannot attend synagogue in the same capacity as her brothers do. Simply written in an easy, flowing style, this story offers a smooth transition from the first book, yet also stands on its own. An open-ended final chapter, without a solution for Papa's unemployment, seems to point the way to another story about these increasingly appealing characters. A winning book, amply illustrated with black-and-drawings. --Rita Soltan, Baldwin Public Library, Birmingham, MI
Hazel Rochman
With a fine combination of warmth and restraint, Levinson tells a chapter story of growing up Jewish in Brooklyn during the Depression. Six-year-old Jennie's first-person narrative captures the daily events that loom large in her life: starting school, Hanukkah at her grandparents, being one of the few Jews in her classroom at Christmas, the birth of her baby brother. Everything is shown from her viewpoint. She senses her parents' trouble ("They stopped talking when I went in"), but only later does she learn that her father's business has closed. Most of the story is told through dialogue, which may not always be easy for younger readers to follow, especially since the narrative is so restrained and there's no analyzing or explaining. There's also no easy resolution. Jennie sees the rigid sex roles at the synagogue, in the school playground, and at her grandparents' Hanukkah feast, where the men and older boys eat in the dining room while "the rest of us [take] turns at the kitchen table." In counterpoint are her games with her two older brothers; and in a beautifully controlled reversal, her brother Abbie, who's been picking on her, shares her grief at the death of a neighbor's dog. Underlying the story is a sense of ongoing Jewish life, which is described by Levinson in the continuous present tense ("Papa goes to the synagogue every Friday night and Saturday morning") and which places the small daily dramas in a universal context.

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Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
8.65(w) x 5.73(h) x 0.54(d)

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