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The Busiest Street in Town
     

The Busiest Street in Town

by Mara Rockliff
 

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Agatha Walker does not want to live on the busiest street in town!Rushmore Boulevard is the busiest street in town—until Agatha May Walker decides to do something about it. Armed with a batch of Sweet and Spicy ginger snaps, a wingback chair, a card table, and a Parcheesi set, Agatha and her best friend, Eulalie Scruggs, take to the street to

Overview

Agatha Walker does not want to live on the busiest street in town!Rushmore Boulevard is the busiest street in town—until Agatha May Walker decides to do something about it. Armed with a batch of Sweet and Spicy ginger snaps, a wingback chair, a card table, and a Parcheesi set, Agatha and her best friend, Eulalie Scruggs, take to the street to reclaim it from the noisy cars, motorcycles, and giant trucks that rumble by all day long. Can these lifelong friends convince their neighbors to stop and smell the honeysuckle, listen to the mariachi band, and best of all, sample the Sweet and Spicy ginger snaps?In this charming picture book about slowing down, a laid-back attitude is the best kind. So sit for a spell and give it a whirl!

Editorial Reviews

Rich Cohen
The Busiest Street in Town is a fable, the story of a grandmotherly woman, Agatha May Walker, who wants to take gingersnap cookies to her friend Eulalie but cannot get across a street swollen with trucks and cars…Agatha then makes the sort of simple gesture said to change the world: she moves her chair into the street and sits there cheerfully as trucks and cars swerve wildly around her. A weirdly dangerous episode for a picture book, but in it I see a hint of the lone citizen standing in the path of the tank. Here, at least, the gesture itself is enough to defeat the machine.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Agatha May Walker and Eulalie Scruggs are lifelong friends who live directly across from each other on Rushmore Boulevard. The aptly named thoroughfare has become so congested (“Cars zipped by. Motorcycles roared. Giant trucks rumbled and grumbled, coming through, coming through”) that the simple act of visiting one another has become downright dangerous. So Agatha engages in a classic act of civil disobedience: she plants a wingback chair smack in the middle of the street and offers her homemade gingersnaps to even the rudest drivers. Page by page, the traffic retreats, neighbors emerge from their homes and soon Agatha and Eulalie are presiding over a festive pedestrian playground, complete with mariachi band. The heroines' willingness to take a stand in the name of civility and community shows that even little old ladies (and, by implication, little kids) can make a difference. It's a story that could easily turn preachy or treacly, but Rockliff (Next to an Ant) and the always buoyant McMenemy (Everybody Bonjours!) proffer their object lesson with a light touch: the reportorial prose and cheery, naïve drawings exude a matter-of-fact optimism that's genuinely inspiring. Ages 5–8. (Oct.)\
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Agatha May Walker lives on one side of Rushmore Boulevard, which has become "the busiest street in town." Her best friend Eulalie Scruggs lives on the other side. On the day when she has baked some gingersnaps to take to Eulalie's, Agatha finds it impossible to cross the street. So she takes action. She sits down in her armchair, cookies in her lap, right in the middle of the noisy, busy street. She is soon joined by Eulalie, Parcheesi set in hand. Gradually the traffic slows. Others join them. Soon children can safely play hopscotch, jump rope, and skateboard. Then flowers are planted. There is a party; a mariachi band plays. No one drives fast on that street any more. It is renamed Walker Road. McMenemy visualizes this modern fairy tale in sprightly flat, mixed-media, Art Deco scenes, some on double pages and some in detailed vignettes. She depicts the gradual conversion of the traffic-laden street into an oasis, as different neighborhood characters find spots to do their own things. This is an encouraging depiction of wishful thinking about possible "greening" of a busy street. Do not miss the visual depiction of the growing up of the friends on the end pages. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Traffic always moves at a frantic pace on Rushmore Boulevard. Two older women who are friends live on opposite sides of the street. Agatha Walker, frustrated with its pace, takes her easy chair and a batch of freshly baked gingersnaps and parks herself in the middle of the streaming vehicles. Her friend Eulalie Scruggs soon joins her with a card table and a Parcheesi set. Traffic starts to slow down and people stop by for a chat and cookies. Soon children come out to play in the street. People plant flowers by the curb. The once-busy thoroughfare has been changed into a neighborhood gathering place and no one is in a hurry to leave. The cheerful mixed-media illustrations are of varying sizes and encased in white. In the text, the sound words are bigger and bolder than the others, and fonts vary throughout. While the slow-down-your-life sentiment is sweet, it's not a pressing one for children.—Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews
The end papers indicate that the now-gray-haired Agatha May Walker and Eulalie Scruggs have been best friends from childhood, living across the street from each other on heavily trafficked Rushmore Boulevard. When Agatha decides to take her wing chair and her homemade cookies and sit in the middle of the street, Eulalie brings a Parcheesi board and a stool to join her. Soon drivers want to play and a neighbor stops by for a cookie. Children begin to play hopscotch and skateboard and make chalk drawings. The Rosado twins have their birthday party, locals play music and plant flowers-and the city renames the street (sans traffic) Walker Road. Eulalie and Agatha are brown and pink, respectively, and wear their best hats and pumps. McMenemy's bright-hued watercolors tell the tale with simplicity-button eyes, comma noses, flat perspective on white ground. This civil-disobedience fable may cause streetwise readers both young and older to scratch their heads: Can two old ladies in heels really turn their street into a pedestrian mall? (Picture book. 5-8)
From the Publisher
"Rockliff’s gentle and sweet-spirited story of urban transformation is nicely complemented by McMenemy’s brightly colored and energetic mixed-media pictures."- Booklist Reviews

"Genuinely inspiring"- Publishers Weekly

"Simple and bright" - The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780449811184
Publisher:
RH Childrens Books
Publication date:
06/27/2012
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
15 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Mara Rockliff lives in eastern Pennsylvania with her family. The Busiest Street in Town is her first book for Knopf.Sarah McMenemy is the illustrator of The First Rules of Little Brothers, Everybody Bonjours!, andWaggle. She lives in London, England.

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