Laundry Day

Overview

In a picture book that blends realism and fantasy, a shoeshine boy is surprised when a
piece of red silk falls from the sky. Trying to find its owner, he ventures up and down
fire escapes, back and forth across clotheslines, and into the company of the colorfully
diverse people who live in the tenement. ...

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Hardcover (Library Binding - Library Edition)
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Overview

In a picture book that blends realism and fantasy, a shoeshine boy is surprised when a
piece of red silk falls from the sky. Trying to find its owner, he ventures up and down
fire escapes, back and forth across clotheslines, and into the company of the colorfully
diverse people who live in the tenement. Lively pages laid out in multiple panels, with
a few words of text in dialogue balloons, capture the exhilarating action, and foreignlanguage
phrases are translated on the endpapers. There is a cheerful side to a neighborhood
packed with people of different origins—the opportunity to make friends
across race lines, culture lines, and clotheslines!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a vivid, warmhearted picture book that unfolds in graphic novel–style panels, a shoeshine boy living in a 1900s immigrant neighborhood (think New York City’s Lower East Side) unexpectedly finds a bright red scarf. Determined to locate its owner, the boy embarks on a grand tour of the tenements, meeting Chinese, Polish, Italian, Ukrainian, Jamaican, and Yiddish-speaking inhabitants (a short glossary concludes the book), and earning a mooncake, pennies, and even a bowl of matzo ball soup for his efforts. (“Such a good boy, to come all this way,” says Rabbi Shulevitz’s wife.) Manning’s pages are exuberance itself as her hero balletically bounds from frame to frame, leaping onto fire escapes, scrambling up and shimmying down water pipes, and using clotheslines as a tightrope and zip line. Manning (Kitchen Dance) may be stretching history slightly to imagine so many different nationalities inhabiting this environment (the demographics could be more 21st-century than 20th), but what really matters is that at every stop, the shoeshine boy finds that the global village is a welcoming, benevolent place. Ages 4–8. Agent: Scott Treimel, Scott Treimel NY. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"Everything teems with movement and life—completely beguiling."—Kirkus, starred review

"There's much to discover in the varied, well-paced frames of this graphic picture book."—Horn Book

"A vivid, warmhearted picture book...Manning's pages are exuberance itself as her hero balletically bounds from frame to frame."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"[A] charming picture book with graphic-novel elements...The atmospheric illustrations will draw in young readers and make them feel as if they are pushing their way through the crowded streets, climbing up fire escapes, and swinging from laundry lines along with the shoeshine boy."—School Library Journal

"The hustle-and-bustle setting provides another visual treat, matched by the warm exuberance of the boy's neighborly adventure."—Booklist

Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
A shoeshine boy seems a small, insignificant part of the bustling city tenement. He asks several people if they want a shine, but is turned down repeatedly. Dejected, he settles on the sidewalk. There he sits when a red cloth is dropped on his shoulders by a bird. The boy looks up. Where did the cloth come from? He starts to climb, in search of an answer. His search starts on the balcony of a Chinese woman, who admires the fabric, gives the boy a mooncake and sends him on to the cowboy. A Polish mother, an Italian man, an Irish woman, a Jewish rabbi, and a Jamaican woman all are visited by our inquisitive young hero. His mission—the return of the red cloth—achieved, he returns to the shoeshine stoop. Proving that no good deed is unrewarded, he now has a line of soldiers—and feels a connection to his many varied city neighbors. Manning's illustrations take a large-comic graphic novel format, and the drawings are highly-detailed and sensitively drawn. This is a celebration of early-19th century living, and the importance of community. Readers will pour over the scenes, and this is a good thing. The more they look, they more they learn. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
Gr 2–3—Reminiscent of the classic French film The Red Balloon (1956), this charming picture book with graphic-novel elements provides a visual tour of the young hero's teeming neighborhood in New York City. On laundry day, a bright red length of fabric drifts from a clothesline strung between the tenements, landing gently around the shoulders of a shoeshine boy. Business is slow, so he wraps the cloth around his neck and goes on a quest to find its owner. Accompanied by his orange striped cat, he travels from window to window, leading readers on a tour of his neighborhood. Each stop along the way provides a brief glimpse into the cultures of his Italian, Polish, Irish, Chinese, Ukrainian, and Jewish neighbors. At last, he climbs up to the roof of the building where the Jamaican seamstress, who sees everything, is waiting. She welcomes the boy with a grateful smile. The red scarf is not meant to be worn around the neck; it is the kindly woman's head scarf. She graciously thanks him and sends him along his way back down to the bustling streets. The dialogue is sprinkled with foreign phrases that are translated in a brief glossary. The atmospheric illustrations will draw in young readers and make them feel as if they are pushing their way through the crowded streets, climbing up fire escapes, and swinging from laundry lines along with the shoeshine boy. Pair this title with Ingrid and Dieter Schubert's wordless worldwide adventure, The Umbrella (Lemniscaat, 2011).—Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA
Kirkus Reviews
One windy day a young shoeshine boy makes a world of new friends. Unable to make a sale, he looks up to see a long, bright-red scarf drifting down to him as he sits dejectedly on the curb. The story of his search for the owner is told with dialogue balloons in comic-book style. Text and illustrations are mutually dependent as one panel follows another, moving the story along. The plucky little boy fearlessly climbs fire escapes, walks across clothes lines and shimmies up and down pipes. Chinese, African-American, Ukrainian, Italian, Polish, Irish, Jewish and Caribbean Island immigrants all greet him kindly, and he in turn performs small services for them. With each interaction, he is exposed to a bit of their cultures. The dialogue is simple and has the flavor and syntax of each speaker's homeland with a word from their language nicely incorporated. The scarf is finally returned to its rightful owner, and there's a surprise reward for the boy. Manning's expressive and detailed digital pencil, watercolor and pastel drawings depict an unnamed but unmistakable turn-of-the-20th-century New York City. Laundry whips in the wind, and busy people on every floor of the buildings are shown from multiple perspectives. Everything teems with movement and life--completely beguiling. (foreign word list) (Picture book. 4-9)
Pamela Paul
The book's standout ­comic-­panel illustrations and dabs of foreign dialogue will draw in older readers, while younger children will enjoy the quest; all will appreciate the ode to community.
—The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547241968
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/17/2012
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: Library Edition
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 1,412,574
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Maurie J. Manning is the author/illustrator of Kitchen Dance and has illustrated numerous other children's books, some of which she also wrote. She and her children live in Berkeley, California.

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