City Green

Overview

Right in the middle of Marcy's city block is a littered vacant lot. Then one day she has a wonderful idea that not only improves the useless lot but her entire neighborhood as well. "DiSalvo-Ryan's warm text is enhanced by her soft pencil-and-watercolor illustrations depicting a diverse neighborhood drawn together by a community project."—Booklist.

Marcy and Miss Rosa start a campaign to clean up an empty lot and turn it into a ...

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Overview

Right in the middle of Marcy's city block is a littered vacant lot. Then one day she has a wonderful idea that not only improves the useless lot but her entire neighborhood as well. "DiSalvo-Ryan's warm text is enhanced by her soft pencil-and-watercolor illustrations depicting a diverse neighborhood drawn together by a community project."—Booklist.

Marcy and Miss Rosa start a campaign to clean up an empty lot and turn it into a community garden.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
One girl's motivation and cheery attitude buoys this picture book about urban renewal and community action. Young Marcy is saddened after the city condemns and demolishes a building in her neighborhood. ``Now this block looks like a big smile with one tooth missing,'' she laments. But as springtime arrives, Marcy's thoughts turn to gardens and flowers. She and her neighbor Miss Rosa decide to clean up the lot and plant seeds there. Soon nearly everyone on the street joins in, donating time, energy and supplies to create a lush green oasis. Even crabby Old Man Hammer eventually warms up to the new look. DiSalvo-Ryan's Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen well-paced text imparts a wealth of information and emotion without sentimentalizing or preaching. The tone of Marcy's narration is occasionally poignant and always very childlike. Watercolor-and-pencil vignettes depict an overwhelmingly brown city landscape enlivened by a colorfully clad cast of ethnically diverse neighbors and, finally, a bountiful rainbow of plants. The kindly expressions of the various gardeners provide added warmth, making DiSalvo-Ryan's fictional block a nice place to visit. A helpful page of instructions for starting a community garden is also included. Ages 5-up. Aug.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
This is the story of a young protagonist who sees a building demolished in her neighborhood and thinks her block looks like "a big smile with one tooth missing." When the empty lot fills with junk, Marcy and her neighbor, Miss Rosa, organize their community to lease the land, clean up the trash, and plant a communal garden. The book's last page gives steps to follow in creating a community or classroom garden. This book can help children build a sense of community responsibility and interdependence.
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
This story begins when a dilapidated building in the middle of a city block is condemned and torn down. This leaves an empty space and makes the block look "like a big smile with one tooth missing." When Marcy and her neighbor Miss Rosa begin their regular spring gardens-in coffee cans-Old Man Hammer reminds them that the vacant lot has plenty of dirt, but it's city property and can't be touched. Marcy and Miss Rosa rent the lot and with Marcy's mother start to clear the lot. Then the neighbors begin to see what's happening. Suddenly everyone seems to be painting, building, digging and planting, and by the middle of the summer the lot is full of vegetables and flowers. This neighborhood is very nicely mixed up with African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and Caucasians. A set of instructions on how to lease a vacant lot wraps up the book.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-There is a garbage-filled, vacant lot on the street where Marcy lives. Instead of growing flowers in coffee cans like they usually do each spring, she and her friend Miss Rosa decide to plant a garden there. Old Man Hammer, who used to live in the building that was torn down, believes that they're getting their hopes up for nothing, but Marcy and Miss Rosa lease the spot from the city. Their enthusiasm and energy spread and everyone in the neighborhood joins together to create an urban oasis. Even Old Man Hammer sneaks into it at night and secretly plants seeds that grow into bright sunflowers. This is a pleasant, positive story of cooperation that features multiethnic characters. DiSalvo-Ryan's double-page illustrations are rendered in watercolors, pencil, and crayons. Although the story is a bit predictable-it is obvious that Old Man Hammer will eventually join in the community spirit-the book is genuinely warm and will appeal to children.-Mary Rinato Berman, New York Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688127862
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/1994
  • Edition number: 97
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 100,249
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 10.25 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan's books include Grandpa's Corner Store, A Castle on Viola Street, City Green and Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen. She lives in Philadelphia. In Her Own Words...

"When I was a girl growing up in Brooklyn, New York, the oldest sibling of one brother and two sisters, I never thought that my art was among the very best. My mother and father recognized my art ability early on. It was because of their sensitivity that I eventually began to acknowledge my talent and enjoy my life as an artist. I remember when I was eight years old, looking at a book one day and thinking: I can make a better book. It was from that day on that I knew I wanted to be an artist and author of children's books. Consequently, whenever anyone asked me if wanted to be an artist When I grew up, I answered, "I am all artist already."

"I always loved a sharp pencil and a new piece of paper. As a young girl, I drew all the time. Even as a teenager, I stayed in my room and drew for hours. My favorite books as a child were the Madeline series, anything by Dr. Seuss, The Five Chinese Brothers, and A Big Ball of String.

"After attending college a[ the School of Visual Arts in New York, I moved to Kansas City, Missouri" in 1978 to work with Hallmark cards. While living in Kansas City, I set tip interviews with New York publishers whenever I went back home. My first book was Published by Western Publishing in 1980. Since then, That New Baby has sold over one million copies. It is even printed in Indonesian!

"Before I begin a book I can see the whole thing. I can sense tile color and pacing. Depending on the type of manuscript I am working with, sometimes I take a lot of photographs, sometimes I need to do historical research, sometimes I draw from my head. Usually, it is very easy for me to draw. If I find myself erasing too much, I will start all over and try to envision the picture in a new way.

My characters are based on people I know or people I have seen. I want children to be able to see themselves or their neighbors when they look at my illustrations. I want them to feel familiar. Many of my personal experiences become the source of inspiration for my stories. The story of Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen was born from the three years I spent working at a soup kitchen while I lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn. City Green was inspired by the garden lot that I passed on my way there. Inspiration for Grandpa’s Corner Store comes from a local grocer with many loyal customers (including me) in Haddon Heights, New Jersey. Before writing, A Castle on Viola Street, I worked for several months building and renovating houses in Camden, New Jersey, through a nonprofit group like Habitat for Humanity. I donate a percentage of my royalties from each book to the organization that they support. This is my way of contributing back to the communities and purposes my books provide.

Currently, I live in a historical town just outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I like living in a small town. It is quiet and easy to think. But the moment I cross the Verranzano Bridge into Brooklyn, I am enchanted by the man sweeping outside the little bodega. I am charmed by three women talking on a street corner, holding the red-and-white strings of their bakery boxes. There are teenagers in curlers and kids scooping puddle water with spoons. From fire escapes to gum spots I see life in the buildings and movement on the sidewalks. I take out my sharp pencil and a clean piece of paper. I am an artist already."

DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan's books include Grandpa's Corner Store, A Castle on Viola Street, City Green and Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen. She lives in Philadelphia. In Her Own Words...

"When I was a girl growing up in Brooklyn, New York, the oldest sibling of one brother and two sisters, I never thought that my art was among the very best. My mother and father recognized my art ability early on. It was because of their sensitivity that I eventually began to acknowledge my talent and enjoy my life as an artist. I remember when I was eight years old, looking at a book one day and thinking: I can make a better book. It was from that day on that I knew I wanted to be an artist and author of children's books. Consequently, whenever anyone asked me if wanted to be an artist When I grew up, I answered, "I am all artist already."

"I always loved a sharp pencil and a new piece of paper. As a young girl, I drew all the time. Even as a teenager, I stayed in my room and drew for hours. My favorite books as a child were the Madeline series, anything by Dr. Seuss, The Five Chinese Brothers, and A Big Ball of String.

"After attending college a[ the School of Visual Arts in New York, I moved to Kansas City, Missouri" in 1978 to work with Hallmark cards. While living in Kansas City, I set tip interviews with New York publishers whenever I went back home. My first book was Published by Western Publishing in 1980. Since then, That New Baby has sold over one million copies. It is even printed in Indonesian!

"Before I begin a book I can see the whole thing. I can sense tile color and pacing. Depending on the type of manuscript I am working with, sometimes I take a lot of photographs, sometimes I need to do historical research, sometimes I draw from my head. Usually, it is very easy for me to draw. If I find myself erasing too much, I will start all over and try to envision the picture in a new way.

My characters are based on people I know or people I have seen. I want children to be able to see themselves or their neighbors when they look at my illustrations. I want them to feel familiar. Many of my personal experiences become the source of inspiration for my stories. The story of Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen was born from the three years I spent working at a soup kitchen while I lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn. City Green was inspired by the garden lot that I passed on my way there. Inspiration for Grandpa’s Corner Store comes from a local grocer with many loyal customers (including me) in Haddon Heights, New Jersey. Before writing, A Castle on Viola Street, I worked for several months building and renovating houses in Camden, New Jersey, through a nonprofit group like Habitat for Humanity. I donate a percentage of my royalties from each book to the organization that they support. This is my way of contributing back to the communities and purposes my books provide.

Currently, I live in a historical town just outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I like living in a small town. It is quiet and easy to think. But the moment I cross the Verranzano Bridge into Brooklyn, I am enchanted by the man sweeping outside the little bodega. I am charmed by three women talking on a street corner, holding the red-and-white strings of their bakery boxes. There are teenagers in curlers and kids scooping puddle water with spoons. From fire escapes to gum spots I see life in the buildings and movement on the sidewalks. I take out my sharp pencil and a clean piece of paper. I am an artist already."

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