A Picnic in October

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Overview

Tony thinks it’s dumb to have a picnic in October every year. He thinks it’s dumb to go all the way to Liberty Island for a birthday, too. It’s too far. And it’s too cold. And it’s just plain embarrassing. But that’s what he thinks before he helps the lady who can’t speak English—and before he begins to understand what the Statue of Liberty means to Grandma.

A boy finally comes to understand why his grandmother insists that the ...

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Overview

Tony thinks it’s dumb to have a picnic in October every year. He thinks it’s dumb to go all the way to Liberty Island for a birthday, too. It’s too far. And it’s too cold. And it’s just plain embarrassing. But that’s what he thinks before he helps the lady who can’t speak English—and before he begins to understand what the Statue of Liberty means to Grandma.

A boy finally comes to understand why his grandmother insists that the family come to Ellis Island each year to celebrate Lady Liberty's birthday.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A contemporary Italian-American family living in New York City makes its annual pilgrimage to Liberty Island to celebrate the birthday of the Statue of Liberty in this poignant picture book. Young Mike thinks a picnic in blustery October is just plain dumb ("Why do we always have to do this?"); he's embarrassed by his grandparents' unflagging enthusiasm for this outing. But when Mike observes a family of new Americans who have also come to pay their respects to Lady Liberty, he gains insight into this symbol of freedom--and his Italian grandparents' gratitude at arriving in the United States. Bunting's (So Far from the Sea) patriotic story includes several hallmarks of now-familiar immigrant stories but never grows soppy, due in large part to Mike's lightly irreverent voice. Carpenter (Twinnies, with Bunting) captures a touch of the "huddled masses" as she depicts crowds on the subway and on the ferry in her vibrant acrylics. Ages 5-10. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
A contemporary Italian-American family living in New York City makes its annual pilgrimage to Liberty Island to celebrate the birthday of the Statue of Liberty in what PW called a "poignant picture book." Ages 6-9. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Carolyn Dennette Michaels
This is a picture book about a New York City family's bus and ferryboat ride to attend their Grandmother's annual October birthday party on Liberty Island, home of the Statue of Liberty. We see and hear young Tony as he struggles to make personal sense of his family's ritual event. To Tony, the whole performance is too far, too cold, and just plain too embarrassing--until he understands why. Art and text present a strong three-generation family supporting their matriarch. Tony comes to realize the value of family in the trip to Grandmother's birthday picnic. Art depicting harbor vistas and "zoom ins" of family faces make a satisfying storybook whole.
From the Publisher
"Poignant . . . Bunting's patriotic story . . . never grows soppy."—Publishers Weekly

"Bunting warmly captures the lasting emotional impact that the first sighting of the statue can have on hopeful new arrivals . . . Excellent."—School Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152016562
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: AD310L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.04 (w) x 8.77 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

EVE BUNTING has written over two hundred books for children, including the Caldecott Medal-winning Smoky Night, illustrated by David Diaz, and numerous novels. She lives in Southern California.

Nancy Carpenter, illustrator of many successful picture books, lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2011

    Highly Recommended for yourself, students and your own children...

    I am a teaching asst. with grades 1-3 and we were looking for a great story about different cultures and I came across A Picnic in October by Eve Bunting. My students loved the book and so did I, I even showed our librarian the book and she ordered several to add to our school library. She added that it would make a great AR book for the children to take a test on and get points for accelerated readers. I also want to add that this book tells how important a persons heritage is and to keep traditions strong with your families. We all come from different cultural backgrounds and our ancestors probably traveled to America by way of Ellis Island upon seeing the Statue of Liberty. Great book!

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