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Pearl Moscowitz's Last Stand

Pearl Moscowitz's Last Stand

by Arthur A. Levine, Rob Roth (Illustrator)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Pearl Moscowitz, noodle-pudding-maker extraordinaire, takes a militant stand when the city threatens to cut down the last tree on her blighted block. Like a sidewalk storyteller who punctuates the neighborhood news with confidential asides, Levine ( The Boardwalk Princess ) details the dynamics of Pearl's urban street as it is settled by Jewish immigrants and, later, by African Americans, Latinos and Asians. Perhaps the only constant on the block, besides Pearl herself, is a leafy gingko planted in Pearl's mother's day. There the older women gather daily for cards and little picnics (``Matzoh balls and steamed dumplings. Challah and jalapenos''). But when an electric company employee arrives with a big saw, Pearl swings into action, first feeding the would-be woodcutter into near insensibility, the next day stupefying him with endless sheaves of family pictures. The third day, her resources exhausted, she chains herself to the doomed tree. As in Nobiah's Well (reviewed above), Roth exaggerates the characters' proportions, but the effect here is more successful, perhaps because the generous size of this book better accommodates the artist's skewed scales. His animated watercolors portray the goings-on with as much humor and goodwill as does Levine's affectionate text. Ages 4-up. (Sept.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Pearl is a lifelong resident of her city street and has seen many changes. Her fellow residents' names have gone from Russian (Plotnick), to presidents' names (Washington), to Latino (Pina), to Oriental (Chen). The flowering trees that were planted many years ago at her mother's request have disappeared one by one, until only a lone gingko tree is left standing. The elderly woman and her neighbors sit under it and play cards and eat ``Matzoh balls and steamed dumplings. Challah and jalapeos.''-until the day that a man from the electric company comes to cut it down. Galvanized into action, Pearl distracts him with food and family pictures, and finally chains herself to the tree in protest. The neighbors display solidarity, the TV cameras record the event, the mayor saves the day and, as the final illustration reveals, he changes the name of the street to ``Pearl Street.'' Roth's fluid, full-page watercolors convey vitality and motion in this story about the ever-changing urban landscape. It is instilled with a spirit of camaraderie that is probably more hoped for than realized. A natural for fulfilling requests for multicultural titles.-Susan Pine, New York Public Library
Julie Corsaro
Multiculturalism is thriving in picture books. This very appealing (albeit, relentlessly cheerful) urban example begins: "Pearl Moscowitz had seen a lot of change on Gingko Street." As the young Pearl and her sisters "blossomed next to nature's own," one gingko tree is struck by lightning. Another is cut down for a bus stop as the grown-up "Puhhl" is joined by African American friends for southern-style lemonade. During urban renewal, the middle-aged New Yorker learns to dance to a Latin beat as bulldozers knock down trees and houses. But when the one remaining gingko is threatened, the spunky grandmother gets up from her card game with the Chens and Kees and chains herself to its trunk. The bright watercolors on watercolor-speckled papers are (to borrow David Letterman's term) "funderful." While they have a pop-art style a la Peter Max, they also have a great deal of humanity, showing people the way they really look--wrinkles and all. With its upbeat, contemporary ending, this is a great choice to team with the Caldecott classic "A Tree Is Nice".

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Age Range:
4 Years

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