Morning Chair

Morning Chair

by Barbara M. Joosse, Marcia Sewall
     
 

Back in their small seaside village in Holland, Bram and Mama snuggle up in the morning chair, talking about the cowboys, mountains, and bears they'll find in America. But when they and Papa set sail for America in 1950, they settle in a bustling, crowded city of tall buildings, taxicabs, and people who speak a strange language. Bram feels as empty as their empty…  See more details below

Overview

Back in their small seaside village in Holland, Bram and Mama snuggle up in the morning chair, talking about the cowboys, mountains, and bears they'll find in America. But when they and Papa set sail for America in 1950, they settle in a bustling, crowded city of tall buildings, taxicabs, and people who speak a strange language. Bram feels as empty as their empty apartment-but then their furniture arrives from Holland. From the familiar Dutch chair Bram and Mama listen to their new neighbors in America, and Mama shows Bram that America is big enough for Bram and Papa and Mama and all things Dutch. A simple, reassuring story, it is complemented by striking full- color paintings.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Bran, newly arrived from Holland, misses his friendly neighborhood and neighbors, but most of all he misses sitting in the morning chair with his Mama. Finally the family furniture arrives, and with it the morning chair. Once again he and Mama can sit together and welcome the new day and their new life in America. Warm, happy story based on the experiences of a young immigrant boy.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-More a mood piece than a story, this tale of a family's immigration to the U.S. retains the naivet and freshness of a child's perspective. Bram and his parents leave their small town in Holland to settle in New York City, and the narrative highlights the poignant incidents of this experience. Missing the familiar sights, sounds, and tastes of home, and trying to adjust to the different way of life that confronts all newcomers, Bram still manages to keep his spirits up. Although he refuses to like green olives (``typically American'' fare), and searches in vain for a glimpse of the promised mountains and cowboys, he finds comfort in the familiarity of possessions from home. Especially important is the morning chair in which he and his mother share cups of tea with milk, Dutch cookies, and quiet time. The complexity of the emigration experience is conveyed to young readers in the simplicity of the warm text. Sewall's softly colored gouache illustrations, with objects and figures framed in hazy black outlines, complement the childlike mood of the narrative. They also emphasize the softness of the sentiments expressed. Although this book will not keep young listeners on the edge of their seats, it will be a useful accompaniment to family history and/or immigration studies.-Martha Rosen, Edgewood School, Scarsdale, NY
Ellen Mandel
Based on her husband's experience emigrating from Holland to the U.S. as a young boy in 1950, Joosse's story juxtaposes the familiar sights and sounds left behind with the jarringly foreign images confronting Bram in his new home. The "soft sounds of neighbors" are overpowered by the noises of New York City; neighborly faces waving greetings are lost to hurrying people "looking at their feet and not at Bram." Then, finally, the family's furniture arrives, turning the stark, new apartment into a comforting home and allowing Bram to start his days sitting with his mother in their "morning chair." Bram no longer feels threatened by his new surroundings, which, once harsh, now hold the promise of welcome. The soft-edged gouache art is deceptively simple, its economical strokes conveying the emotion of upheaval and the drama of the journey. Even the use of colors heightens Bram's sense of isolation and intensifies the vivid images of his memories.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395623374
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/28/1995
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.84(w) x 10.84(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
500L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Marcia Sewall, the author and illustrator of many award-winning picture books, is a lifelong resident of New England.

Barbara M. Joosse is the author of many books for children, including the four previous Wild Willie books and the best-selling Mama, Do You Love Me? (Chronicle). She lives in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

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