The Elevator Man

Overview

Nathan thinks the man who operates the elevator in his apartment building has the best job in the world — a job that Nathan himself dreams of having when he grows up. But the elevator man has dreams of his own, and when one day the building's elevator is replaced with an automated version, Nathan is amazed to see that everybody's dreams have come true! / Debut author Stanley Trachtenberg's charming story of our changing times is perfectly matched with acclaimed illustrator Paul Cox's delightful retro ...
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Overview

Nathan thinks the man who operates the elevator in his apartment building has the best job in the world — a job that Nathan himself dreams of having when he grows up. But the elevator man has dreams of his own, and when one day the building's elevator is replaced with an automated version, Nathan is amazed to see that everybody's dreams have come true! / Debut author Stanley Trachtenberg's charming story of our changing times is perfectly matched with acclaimed illustrator Paul Cox's delightful retro illustrations to create a story children everywhere will love.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Cox's (The Train to Glasgow) radiant palette, balletic ink line and cosmopolitan aesthetic bring a buoyant spirit to this metropolitan fable. To young Nathan, there is nothing more marvelous than his apartment building's elevator and the man who runs it. It's not just that the elevator man has a dashing uniform (maroon with brass buttons); he is also gracious (he holds the elevator for Nathan's Type A dad) and cool under pressure (when other residents “lean on the buzzer,” he doesn't flinch). Best of all, he lets Nathan run the elevator when no one else is around. But when the building modernizes with a self-service elevator, Nathan's exuberance plummets (“Nathan reaches up to touch one of the buttons, the one that has an 'L' on it. He hopes it means 'Let Me Off' ”). At times the narrative is weighed down in extraneous detail when it should be buoyed by the emotional truths that Trachtenberg, a former book editor making his children's book debut, offers about facing change. But he does a wonderful job of setting up his story—even suburban readers will identify with Nathan's elevator fixation. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Nicole Peterson Davis
Who do you think has the best job in the world? Nathan thinks it is the man who works in his apartment, wearing a maroon uniform with brass buttons. He is the elevator man who pushes the buttons and holds the elevator for people in the apartment to get on and off. One day, Nathan dreams of being an elevator man himself. However, the elevator man has dreams of his own, and when the elevator is replaced one day for an automatic version, everyone's dreams come true. This charming book takes readers back in time. The author and illustrator have combined their talents to create an enjoyable book that children and adults will delight in reading together. The illustrations are perfectly suited for the storyline, by augmenting the story and explaining through art the concepts that young readers may not automatically understand. This picture book teaches history as well as encouraging young people to have dreams. Reviewer: Nicole Peterson Davis
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Nathan's apartment building has an old-fashioned elevator, complete with an elevator man in a handsome maroon uniform who opens the gates and turns a handle to make it go up or down. The boy's greatest wish is to be an elevator man when he grows up, so when traffic is slow, his friend lets him help. Much to Nathan's dismay, a new elevator is installed, with buttons to push, an automatic door, and no need of an elevator man. However, all ends well: Nathan's friend becomes the building's doorman, and the child "heads toward the elevator to begin his new job." Rich, appealing illustrations sketch the characters in broad, quick strokes of black filled in with warm golds, blues, greens, and maroons, against the backdrop of the building's ongoing activities. The endpapers sum up the story marvelously—at the beginning, an oversize man is opening the gate of the old elevator for Nathan, and at the end, the boy is inside the new conveyance, wearing his friend's maroon hat and pushing the buttons. This story will appeal especially to big-city apartment dwellers.—Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Kirkus Reviews
Nathan loves riding in his apartment building's old elevator with the kind Elevator Man, who lets him turn a handle to move the car up and down. When a renovation replaces the antiquated elevator with a modern one, Nathan frowns at the new shiny buttons and worries about the fate of his friend. Swirling watercolor illustrations capture fast-paced urban activity, while yellows, oranges and light blues bring warmth to Nathan's city life. Cox's illustrations float on white space, appearing as colorful cloud formations without panels or borders. Readers' eyes move easily from image to image, using the artwork as stepping stones to cross rather significant streams of text. Trachtenberg's clear, straightforward language remains reassuring, however, giving beginning readers simple sentence structures they can handle. While Nathan's apartment life and evident affluence might distance him from some suburban or less moneyed children, this sweet picture book's ornate illustrations and sentimental tone (much like earlier, unabashed urban stories like Eloise or Make Way For Ducklings) makes for universal, lasting enjoyment. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802853158
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 7/23/2009
  • Pages: 36
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD610L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.46 (w) x 10.36 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Stanley Trachtenberg, a former senior trade editor at both Macmillan and Crown Publishers, is the author of seven books and numerous articles and book reviews in magazines and newspapers across the U.S. This is his first children's book. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Paul Cox is one of England's foremost illustrators, whose work includes editions of such classics as The Wind in the Willows and many of P.G. Wodehouse's books. His drawings appear often in a wide variety of magazines, including Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Esquire. He lives in Sussex, England.

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