Fair Monaco

Fair Monaco

by Brock Cole, Handprint
     
 

When Maggie, Kate, and little Nora go to stay with their grandmother in the city, they beg her to let them play outside, but she's too afraid. Her back is bad, her feet are bad, and her head is full of worries. That night when the girls find their way into their grandmother's dreams, they realize they can do something to make the worries go away.

Overview

When Maggie, Kate, and little Nora go to stay with their grandmother in the city, they beg her to let them play outside, but she's too afraid. Her back is bad, her feet are bad, and her head is full of worries. That night when the girls find their way into their grandmother's dreams, they realize they can do something to make the worries go away.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Brock (Buttons) creatively fuses the real and the fanciful, past and present in this affecting story that opens as three sisters arrive at their grandmother's apartment in a rundown city neighborhood. " `Can we take a walk?' asked Maggie. `Oh, no,' said Granny. `It's safer inside.' " Their grandmother suggests that they have supper and go right to bed. When the oldest girl tries to distract the fretful woman by asking her to tell them "of a long time ago, when you danced with the Prince in fair Monaco," the woman begins to reminisce. "But then she forgot. Her back was bad, and her feet were bad, and her head was full or worries." She fears burglars, "bad boys" on the street and "the gasman and electricman with their terrible bills!" Cole's pen-and-ink and watercolor wash illustrations depict cozy domestic scenes of an abode that has seen its heyday but still radiates warmth. He pictures the three siblings piling into a brass bed surrounded by antique photographs, clothing and shoes, and a full-bleed spread of a starlit urban scene signals a hint of magic. Back at Granny's the siblings suspect there are extra feet in the bed ("Witch's feet!"). The girls suddenly reappear in the bed of "granny-witch." In a montage of interconnected illustrations, the bed floats out the window, past the people Granny fears, whose images give way to the sisters' own dreams of "white sails and a fair wind,... sun rising and great birds soaring,... and tea in a garden of flowers near a house by the sea." Their dreams have a surprising effect on Granny, too. Cole's airy yet detailed illustrations successfully capture both the bustle of the city and the tranquility of the children's dreams, as well as the tale's message of hope. All ages. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Maggie, Kate, and little Nora are not very happy when their mother is sick, their father away, and they are sent to stay with their old Granny in the city. Whatever they suggest doing, cranky Granny finds too dangerous. All they can do is go to bed. But somehow, in the middle of the night, they find themselves in "granny-witch's" bed, which floats out the window, past all the evils of the city, as they each dream a lovely dream. When they wake up in Granny's bed, it seems that she has shared their dreams. She is ready to make the breakfast of Nora's dream and then, amid the chaos of the city, to cheerfully show them the dance she learned "long ago, when I dance with the Prince in fair Monaco." The paper jacket presents us with a scene of Granny's neighborhood: building upon building crowded together. But several billboards with clown faces hint at the story's magic. Cole's deftly-painted illustrations of varying sizes pulse with vitality; his black brush outlines and watercolor touches create details of place and a cast of characters we feel pleased to meet. Even the grouchy, fearful old woman we are introduced to on the title page has, by story's end, become lost in her memories and has invited us to join her and the girls in her joyous dance. 2004 (orig. 2003), Front Street, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews
Cole's words and pictures deliver his tale as effortlessly as a song, but one that pricks with intelligence, sorrow, and hope. Granny opens her door to abandoned cars, kids hanging out, graffiti, and garbage. Maggie, Kate, and little Nora come to stay with her "When Momma was sick and Poppa away." Granny won't let them walk outside where the bad boys play, and shows them the locks to keep out burglars. The girls eat their supper and go to bed, but Maggie wakes up to proclaim that there are too many feet in her bed ("WITCH'S FEET!"). A hilarious pillow fight ensues, and the sisters climb into granny-witch's bed and float out the window. The burglars, bad boys, gas-and-electric men with "their terrible bills" fill their dreams, but Maggie decides to change that. The sisters dream of sun, wind, pancakes, and syrup, and when they wake the next morning in Granny's bed, she smiles and offers pancakes for breakfast. The same urban street now glows with life, opposing the dingy earlier view. A vivid and satisfying testimony to the transforming power of hope and dreams. (Picture book. 4-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781932425079
Publisher:
Highlights Press
Publication date:
09/30/2004
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 10.00(h) x (d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Brock Cole is an award-winning children's author as well as a noted artist and illustrator of such titles as Buttons, The Giant's Toe, and Larky Mavis. His latest novel, The Fact Speak for Themselves, was a National Book Award finalist. Mr. Cole lives in Buffalo, New York.

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