What a Year (26 Fairmount Avenue Series #4)


In a review of the third 26 Fairmount Avenue book, On My Way, School Library Journal said, "Readers will be delighted with the final line: 'There's more coming!'"

Well, here it is: Celebrate Tomie's sixth birthday in style, watch as he dresses up as Snow White for his first halloween trick-or-treating, join in as he celebrates holidays with his family, suffers through a bout of the chicken pox, and gets to stay up to see in the new year! In the fourth book set at the ...

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In a review of the third 26 Fairmount Avenue book, On My Way, School Library Journal said, "Readers will be delighted with the final line: 'There's more coming!'"

Well, here it is: Celebrate Tomie's sixth birthday in style, watch as he dresses up as Snow White for his first halloween trick-or-treating, join in as he celebrates holidays with his family, suffers through a bout of the chicken pox, and gets to stay up to see in the new year! In the fourth book set at the Newbery-Honor winning address of 26 Fairmount Avenue, Tomie dePaola brings us more heart-warming, funny stories about his childhood. What a year it was indeed!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Tomie turns six in What a Year by Tomie dePaola, the fourth installment in his 26 Fairmount Avenue autobiographical series. Adventure awaits as he trick-or-treats with his baby brother, battles a case of chicken pox that threatens to keep him out of the Christmas pageant and finally gets to stay up past midnight on New Year's Eve. (Mar.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Tomie de Paola is an amazing author of children's books. He knew that he wanted to be a writer and an illustrator at the age of four. In this third book in his "26 Fairmount Avenue" series, Tomie de Paola shares his memories of childhood through the eyes of six-year-old Tomie. This book opens with a new chapter in Tomie's life as a first grader. He shares stories throughout the year by emphasizing holidays and family events. The costumes for Halloween that he and his older brother Buddy wear are funny, while a bout with the chicken pox almost makes Tomie miss an event that any first grader wouldn't want to miss. Readers can tell what was and still is important to the author by hearing the stories through Tomie. The black-and-white illustrations are appropriate for 1940, the book's historical setting. Read this book to discover the mysteries of Tomie de Paola's early life. It invites readers to partake in yet another "26 Fairmount Avenue" book. 2002, GP Putnam's Sons, Ages 9 to 12.
—Jana Black
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-This chapter-book memoir begun in 26 Fairmount Avenue (1999) and continued in Here We All Are (2000) and On My Way (2001, all Putnam) takes readers through the beginning of dePaola's first-grade year in 1940. It follows young Tomie through his sixth birthday party and trick-or-treating with his brother as Snow White and the Wicked Witch, characters in his favorite Disney movie. Readers are reintroduced to the loving extended family at their Thanksgiving feast. A severe case of chicken pox interferes with Tomie's Christmas shopping and rehearsals for the class play. The book ends with New Year's Eve at his grandparents' house with Tomie staying up to usher in the new year. Black-and-white sketches add charming accents to the homey, personal episodes. The story ends with a note in Tomie's new diary, "I wonder what 1941 will be like?" Obviously, another sequel by this prolific author is on the way!-Alice Casey Smith, Sayreville Public Schools, Parlin, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
DePaola's fourth volume in the popular 26 Fairmount Avenue series is as charming and engaging as its predecessors. It is 1940 and Tomie, or "Tommy," as Miss Kiniry, his first-grade teacher, spells it, is starting first grade in style-with his sixth birthday. Tomie is bathed in the love and care of his family and community as they plan a school party the Friday before his real birthday and a surprise party of relatives and grown-up friends on his real birthday. As if this were not enough excitement for young Tomie, he has Halloween next on his agenda. Tomie, impeccably dressed as Snow White, and Buddy, decked out as the Wicked Witch, are the hit of the neighborhood. DePaola remembers all the small details of his Christmas-from the carefully constructed lists for Santa to the evening mass, to waiting for Santa and the excitement of opening presents. DePaola's warm drawings give just the right amount of visual information without intruding on the delightful vignettes. The comforting story, large typeface, and ample space around the illustrations make this a perfect early chapter book for young readers. Those who open the loving doors of the little house on Fairmount Avenue will want to stay for a long time, at least for some of Nana's flaming plum pudding. (Fiction. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142501580
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/13/2003
  • Series: 26 Fairmount Avenue Series , #4
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 410,618
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.15 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Tomie dePaola
Tomie dePaola
Best known for his award-winning picture book Strega Nona and for the 26 Fairmount Avenue series of chapter books, Tomie dePaola is one of the most prolific -- and beloved -- author/illustrators in the field of children's literature.


Born in 1934 into a large extended Irish/Italian family, Tomie dePaola received his art education at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute and the California College of Arts & Crafts. Although he always wanted to create children's books, he spent several years applying his talents to the fields of education, theater, and graphic design. In the mid-1960s, he received his first commission to illustrate a children's science book. A year later, he published his first original picture book, The Wonderful Dragon of Timlin. Today, he is one of the most prolific -- and beloved -- author/illustrators in children's literature.

In addition to illustrating stories by other writers, DePaola has created artwork for collections of poetry, nursery rhymes, holiday traditions, and folk and religious tales. But, he is most famous for books of his own creation, especially Strega Nona ("Grandma Witch"), the beloved story of an old woman who uses her magical powers to help the people of her small Italian village. Written in 1975, this Caldecott Honor winner is still delighting children today.

DePaola admits that there are strong autobiographical elements in many of his books (Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs, The Art Lesson, Stagestruck), but nowhere is this more evident than in 26 Fairmount Avenue, a series of charming chapter books based on his Connecticut childhood. Taking its name from the address of his family home, the series captures the experiences and emotions of a young boy growing up in the late 1930s and early '40s in the shadow of World War II. The first book in the series received a 1999 Newbery Honor Award.

DePaola and his work have been recognized with many honors, including the Smithsonian Medal, the Kerlan Award for "singular attainment in children's literature," the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal, and several awards from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. In 1999, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts bestowed on dePaola the Lotte Jacobi Living Treasure Award for the body of his work.

Good To Know

  • Tomie dePaola's name is pronounced Tommy de POW-la.

  • Between college and graduate school, dePaola spent a short time in a Benedictine monastery before determining that religious life was not for him.

  • Using a combination of watercolor, tempera, and acrylic, dePaola's artistic style is best described as folk-traditional.

  • DePaola's favorite painters and strongest artistic influences are Matisse, Giotto, and Ben Shahn.
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