House of Joyful Living

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High on the roof of an apartment building is a garden where neighbors come to laugh, to dance, and to share – stories of helping others, breakfasts of challah and herring, and, once a summer, a Roof Party! Surrounded by loving adults, a girl with cabbage curls feels she lives “on top of the world – in paradise.” But something is about to change. Mama’s belly is growing bigger – and bigger! Can the girl share her mama and papa, and her wonderful rooftop world, with a new baby?

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Terry Widener Gordonsville, Virginia, U.S.A. 2008 Hard Cover New in New jacket 9 1/2 x 11 1/2. First Edition. First printing. A girl who lives in an apartment building where the ... neighbors spend time together in the roof garden has to adjust to the arrival of a baby in her family into the House of Joyful Living. Read more Show Less

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Overview

High on the roof of an apartment building is a garden where neighbors come to laugh, to dance, and to share – stories of helping others, breakfasts of challah and herring, and, once a summer, a Roof Party! Surrounded by loving adults, a girl with cabbage curls feels she lives “on top of the world – in paradise.” But something is about to change. Mama’s belly is growing bigger – and bigger! Can the girl share her mama and papa, and her wonderful rooftop world, with a new baby?

Based on the author’s own New York City childhood, this warm and spirited story – with bold art in the style of public murals – is a joyous and heartfelt celebration of community.

 

The House of Joyful Living is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Schotter's (Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street) vivid entry in the jealousy-of-coming-sibling genre rises above its category by focusing on the protagonist's beloved New York City apartment building, a genuine melting pot. Despite the crumbling brick and peeling paint, the camaraderie of its multiethnic residents fills the house with joy and love. As the only child on the premises, the narrator is the center of attention. Frenchie folds the Sunday comics into birds ("wah-zoh") just for her; everyone admires the signs she makes-no wonder she doesn't want an infant intruder. Widener's (The Babe & I) characteristically stylized paintings adopt a variety of perspectives, including child's-eye level, to convey the multilayered harmony. The artist represents the shared "paradise," the roof garden where the neighbors congregate, through a child's idealizing lens: it boasts manicured gardens, matching furniture and classical sculpture. Other images, such as a nighttime rooftop view of the Brooklyn Bridge, are equally romantic if more clearly urban, and rendered as affectionately as the text. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
A little girl with "cabbage-curly" hair has a special place to share with friends and family. It is the Roof Garden high atop her apartment building, and it is the scene of many a celebratory breakfasts of challah and herring, dinners featuring Russian pirogen, Frenchie's poulet, and breads, and desserts of cookies and cakes baked by all the other residents. And there is music—Mendelssohn, Mozart, and Bach—played through Mama's radio. What the little girl likes best about the parties is that she is the only child. But now something is different. Mama's belly is growing larger and soon a new baby will join the family. The little girl is not ready to share. A special new chair for Mama and the baby becomes the perfect place for the little girl to sit and feel Mama's "lumpy, bumpy lap." There, she begins to imagine the new baby and all of the fun she is missing on the joyful rooftop. Slowly, she is won over by the fact that there is much the baby will have to learn and she will be the perfect teacher. There is much energy and joy in this colorful tale, with its multiethnic residents. The story of a sibling's misgivings about a new baby is a familiar one, but here it is told with a creative new twist. There is a 1940s look to the illustrations, but the bright colors and sense of energy make them feel very much today. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

The residents of a crumbling, crowded apartment building gather on their idyllic rooftop garden to share food, music, and friendly conversation. There is a diverse cast of characters-Frenchie and Horty from Paris, Mr. Carriero from Italy, Curly and Touz, and Dick and Gene-but only one little girl with "cabbage-curly hair." With her family and all of her neighbors sharing this "House of Joyful Living," she feels like she is on top of the world. But as Mama's belly grows, she fears that, once the baby arrives, no one will pay attention to her. Aided by Widener's bold, expressive acrylics, Schotter paints a nostalgic picture of the warmth and joy of a close-knit, urban community and one little girl's realization of the blessings a new baby will bring. With a focus on community and neighborliness, this is a unique, though not essential, addition to the new-sibling bookshelf.-Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374334291
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 11.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

RONI SCHOTTER’s acclaimed picture books include Hanukkah!, winner of the National Jewish Book Award. She lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. TERRY WIDENER has received numerous awards for his illustrations. He lives in McKinney, Texas.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 15, 2009

    Roni Schotter, children's book author

    I'd like to recommend books by Roni Schotter, children's book author, especially--DOO-WOP POP, THE HOUSE OF JOYFUL LIVING and MAMA, I'LL GIVE YOU THE WORLD. Roni Schotter is the author of NOTHING EVER HAPPENS ON 90TH STREET, used a lot in schools to model writing, and of THE BOY WHO LOVED WORDS which won the Parents Choice Award.

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