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Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Eva wants to write, but feels that nothing interesting happens in her neighborhood. Contemplating her teacher's advice ("Write about what you know"), she observes her neighbors-Mr. Chang, with his newly opened but empty Seafood Emporium; Mr. Sims, an actor perpetually "on hiatus"; Mr. Morley, the mousse maker whose mousse fails to tempt; and Alexis Leora, a lonely dancer who never smiles. Each offers Eva writing tips, as does a less bohemian neighbor who has just made soup: "[Add] a little of this, a little of that. And don't forget the spice. Mix it. Stir it. Make something happen." And it turns out that there is plenty of spice on 90th Street. The unexpected catalyst of events and the surprising turn they take make for an insightful and amusing look at the artistic life. Schotter (Dreamland) has a knack for creating dramatic situations filled with romantic characters. First-time illustrator Brooker adds to the momentum with her madcap visual pastiches-zany, stylized collages that offer glimpses of a captivating New York. Her characters wear unforgettable expressions (the poignant sadness of Alexis Leora, the cool disdain of movie star Sondra Saunderson), and she dresses them in wonderfully inventive clothing (Mr. Morley's shirt is made of a Blue Willow china pattern; Sondra Saunderson swishes by in an outfit straight from the golden days of Hollywood). Writers and artists of every age will find much here to savor-and to inspire them. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4Schotter offers blocked young writers some savvy advice as she gives the premise of Ellen Raskin's Nothing Ever Happens on My Block (Aladdin, 1989) a contemporary flavorin more ways than one. Sitting on her stoop with a Danish and a notebook as blank as her mind, Eva searches for inspiration as passing residents share words of wisdom: watch carefully, don't neglect details, use words in new ways ("Try to find the poetry in your pudding"), stretch the truth if necessary, make something happen. Taking the last to heart, Eva crumbles up her pastry to attract a flock of pigeons, setting off a chain of small accidents, chance meetings, and conversations, all of which she happily records. By the end, good things have come to everyone: an actor "on hiatus" lands a job offer, romance blooms between a pizza man and a lonely dancer, and the addition of some spilled coffee changes a vendor's bland chocolate mousse into mocha so magnificent that he is inspired to open a caf with two new friends. Brooker incorporates pieces of newspaper, scraps of patterned cloth, and small objects into her paintings of a thoroughly lived-in urban neighborhood. Against backgrounds that have the intimacy and flattened perspective of a small stage, she poses her characters in appropriately theatrical stances; their wide gestures and exaggerated expressions suit this lively, fluently told tale perfectly.John Peters, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
From Schotter (A Fruit and Vegetable Man, 1993, etc.), the story of a would-be writer and her blank page, and the life going on all around her.

Eva sits out on her New York City stoop, with her notebook, waiting for something to occur. Each neighbor who passes gives her writing tips: "Try to find poetry in your pudding," suggests Mr. Morley, the maker of mundane mousses. "Stretch," says dour dancer Alexis Leora, encouraging Eva to use her imagination. But it isn't until Eva takes matters into her own hands, by feeding her half-eaten Danish to some birds, that a domino effect transforms her neighborhood and gives her enough material to fill her notebook with observations more fantastic than fiction. Among the whirlwind of activity, the dancer and the pizza boy collide and fall in love, and Mr. Morley's mousse gets an accidental altering that turns it into a tasty treat. Schotter's story and Brooker's collages perfectly capture the cluttered eclecticism of New York City street life, so readers will forgive the author if the story lacks focus: The writing tips (which children will like) are lost in the blizzard of activity.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780531071366
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Edition description: 1ST ORCHAR
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 54,712
  • Age range: 5 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.78 (w) x 10.78 (h) x 0.09 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2000

    Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street

    A wonderful, surprising book full of humor that, along the way, encourages and teaches children to write their own stories. Amazing things happen on 90th Street and in the heroine's imagination. There's romance, comedy and near tragedy (along with writing tips)in a simple picture book with great illustrations made from collages of what looks like newspaper, wallpaper and other surprising materials. A great book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2000

    Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street

    I loved this book. It's a funny, imaginative story with a wonderfully upbeat ending. It's also a great book for stimulating children to write their own stories. Full of great characters and great illustrations made from collages that are a lot of fun to look at closely and try to figure out what the artist used to create her pictures.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2009

    Roni Schotter, children's author

    I'd like to recommend children's books written by Roni Schotter 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.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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