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Irene and the Big, Fine Nickel

Irene and the Big, Fine Nickel

by Irene Smalls, Tyrone Geter (Illustrator)

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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.


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
A spunky African American girl stars in this nostalgic story set in Harlem, illustrated with "warm [and] homey" paintings. "A good choice for family sharing," said PW. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
School Library Journal - 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 Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Irene Smalls grew up in Harlem in the 1950s and graduated from Cornell University. She also has an M.B.A. from New York University and held jobs as a model, an actress, a radio reporter, and a small business owner and is the author of many picture books.

Tyrone Geter received a masters of fine art from Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio with a major in painting. He now teaches painting and drawing in the Department of Art at Benedict College, and is also the director of the Henry Ponder Fine Arts Gallery, Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina.

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