Peppe the Lamplighter

Peppe the Lamplighter

4.0 3
by Elisa Bartone, Ted Lewin
     
 

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Peppe becomes a lamplighter to help support his immigrant family in turn-of-the-century New York City, despite his papa's disapproval. But when Peppe's job helps save his little sister, he earns the respect of his entire family. "Touching and rhythmically written....A pleasing kid-centered slice of history that possesses warmth and dignity."—Bulletin of the

Overview

Peppe becomes a lamplighter to help support his immigrant family in turn-of-the-century New York City, despite his papa's disapproval. But when Peppe's job helps save his little sister, he earns the respect of his entire family. "Touching and rhythmically written....A pleasing kid-centered slice of history that possesses warmth and dignity."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An Italian American boy at the turn of the century becomes a lamplighter to support his family. In PW's words, "The thoughtful, fluid text, while uniquely personal, is universal in scope." Ages 5-up. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-- Peppe, a young immigrant, lives in a tenement in Little Italy in the early 1900s. His mother is dead, his father is ill, and the boy must help support his eight sisters. The street lamplighter offers him a temporary job, and Peppe accepts with pride and excitement. His father disapproves, but the girls encourage him. Peppe imagines each light to be ``a small flame of promise for the future'' and makes a wish for those he loves at each lamp. His father's continued disapproval discourages him and makes him so ashamed that one night he gives up. This night, his youngest sister does not come home because she is afraid of the dark. Peppe's father then pleads with him to light the lamps, admitting it is an important job. This is a pleasant story about a boy's aspirations and the values that shape character. The brilliant color illustrations are perfect in capturing the flavor of the neighborhood. They give a strong sense of time and place. The play of light from the streetlamps and kerosene lamps is especially striking, and the composition of each page is so embracing that readers will feel taken in, whether it is an interior scene or a sweeping streetscape. A solid, refreshing selection that can stand on its own, but would be great to use with immigrant studies. --Barbara Peklo Abrahams, Oneida City Schools, Manlius, NY
Hazel Rochman
"Did I come to America for my son to light the streetlamps?" The harshness of the immigrant family experience is the realistic background for this affecting picture book story set in Little Italy, New York, at the turn of the century. Peppe's mother is dead; his father is too ill to work; and as the only son, Peppe tries to find a job to help support his eight sisters. He's thrilled when he gets work as a lamplighter, but his father rejects him. Peppe gradually loses heart, until one night he doesn't light the lamps--and his little sister, scared of the dark, doesn't come home. Then his father begs Peppe to light the lamps, and the family is reunited. The story's a tearjerker with a happy resolution, but words and pictures give a strong sense of hard times. Lewin's masterly watercolors express the swirling energy of the crowded streets as well as the intimate feelings and interactions of individual people. Both inside the tenement and out in the neighborhood, the background is often dark; and the boy's lighting of the lamps is a powerful image of his dreams, "a small flame of promise" in the night.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688102692
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/26/1993
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Ted Lewin grew up in an old frame house in Buffalo, New York, with two brothers, one sister, two parents, a lion, an iguana, a chimpanzee, and an assortment of more conventional pets. The lion was given to his older brother, Don, while he was traveling as a professional wrestler, and he shipped it home. The family kept Sheba in the basement fruit cellar until Don returned and their mother convinced him to give it to the Buffalo zoo.

Ted always knew he wanted to be an illustrator. As a child he copied the work of illustrators and painters he admired, including N. C. Wyeth, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Velázquez, and Goya. When it came time to go to art school (Pratt), he needed to earn money to finance his education. So, following in his brother’s footsteps, he took a summer job as a wrestler — the beginning of a 15-year part-time career that eventually inspired his autobiographical book I Was a Teenage Professional Wrestler. Ted’s career as an artist began with illustrations for adventure magazines, and it’s only over the last several years that he has devoted his time to writing and illustrating children’s books. "I’m having more fun doing this than anything I’ve ever done before," he says. He is an avid traveler, and many of his books are inspired by trips to such places as the Amazon River, the Sahara Desert, Botswana, Egypt, Lapland, and India. His Market!, published in 1996, showcases markets around the world, from Uganda to Ireland to Ecuador.

Touch and Go is a collection of stories about the adventures Ted had while researching his books. Gorilla Walk is his first collaboration with his wife, Betsy, and is about their trek to see the mountain gorillas in Uganda. They’ve just completed their second collaboration, Elephant Quest, set in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. Ted’s current project is about a Civil War drummer boy.

Ted and Betsy live in Brooklyn, New York, where they share their home with two cats, Slick and Chopper.

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Peppe the Lamplighter 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Peppe is a little Italian boy who moves to America with his sick father and his eight sisters. No one in Peppe¿s family has a job and they have no money. Although he is young, Peppe, sets out to find a job in Little Italy. After being turned away by everyone, Domenico, the lamplighter, offers Peppe an opportunity to light the streetlamps for him while he¿s away. Peppe graciously accepts the offer and runs home to tell his family. When Peppe tells his papa about his new job, Papa becomes very angry. ¿Did I come to America for my son to light the streetlamps?¿ Peppe was very sad and his sisters tell him not to worry that Papa is only sick and doesn¿t know what he¿s saying. Each night Peppe continues to light the lamps until one evening Papa says to him, ¿You¿ll belong to the streets!¿ Peppe cried on the front steps and decided not to light the lamps anymore. Without Peppe, the streets of Little Italy were dark and the people were asking, ¿Where is Peppe the Lamplighter?¿ That very night, Peppe¿s little sister doesn¿t come home. Will Peppe¿s father realize that his son¿s job is important after all?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Caldecott, A memorable celebration of Italian-American history. The story takes place 'a long time ago when there was no electricity and the street lamps in Little Italy had to be lit by hand.' The hero of the book is Peppe, who lives with his widowed father and sisters in a tenement. Peppe's decision to get a job as a lamplighter leads to conflict between Peppe and his father. This was enjoyable book and I would recommend it. Bibliography Bartone, Elisa. Peppe The Lamplighter. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1993.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A father's pride. A son's shame. A beloved little sister. A family in poverty at the turn of the century. These elements weave together to form a tale of a father coping with a new country and a new culture, and the important lesson he learns from his son. One of my favorite books of all time!