Irene and the Big, Fine Nickel

Irene and the Big, Fine Nickel

by Irene Smalls-Hector, Tyrone Geter

Relates the adventures of a young girl, living in Harlem in the 1950's, on the morning that she finds a nickel in the street.  See more details below


Relates the adventures of a young girl, living in Harlem in the 1950's, on the morning that she finds a nickel in the street.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Irene is a spunky African-American girl who ``gets her own self up'' one morning in New York's Harlem. The sunny Saturday stretches out before her, and she fills it up with the ordinary pleasures of a child's life: a hot drop biscuit, visits with neighbors, a singing game with a friend, planting seeds in a makeshift window box. When Irene finds a nickel in the gutter, she and her friends Lulabelle and Lulamae make a beeline for Miss Susie's West Indian Bakery: ``We would like to buy the biggest raisin bun you have.'' Settling down with her friends for a curbside feast, ``Irene was feeling seven and in heaven.'' Though they do little to evoke the 1957 setting, Geter's warm paintings impart a homey feeling that complements the nostalgic text. With its richly textured language, this debut picture book is a good choice for family sharing. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-- An idyllic reminiscence of Harlem in the '50s, showing the human spirit that made this place welcoming and warm. Seven-year-old Irene is an independent youngster. Readers follow her through a summer Saturday as she visits neighbors, plays in the park and on city sidewalks, fights and makes up with friends, listens to the music drifting through open doors, and plants a fire-escape garden. The day's high point comes with the discovery of a nickel in the clean and normally empty gutter. Irene and her friends buy a raisin bun and, with the sharing of the food, cement their relationship. This is a quiet picture book with wide appeal; each spread includes a full-page oil painting illustrating the action and a page of fairly dense text. Geter's broad brush strokes are without outlines, letting the colors do all the work. Beautiful brown children are captured in rich tones and in natural poses, perfectly complementing the happiness described in the text. Irene's godmother sums up the story's sentiments best when she says, ``God don't love ugly, bein' mean and fightin' is not the best thing to do.'' Amen to that. --Ruth Semrau, Lovejoy School, Allen, TX

Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
10.63(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.37(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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