Yanni Rubbish

Overview

Yanni and his donkey, Lamia, are a familiar sight on the streets of their small Greek village. Every morning they can be seen going from house to house collecting trash in an old wagon in need of new wheels. Before Yanni's father left to find work in Germany, he told Yanni to take care of his mother and to keep the family business going. Collecting trash is hard work, and the boys in the village make it even harder. Whenever they see Yanni and Lamia coming, they shout, "Ho, ho, your donkey's lame and Yanni ...

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Overview

Yanni and his donkey, Lamia, are a familiar sight on the streets of their small Greek village. Every morning they can be seen going from house to house collecting trash in an old wagon in need of new wheels. Before Yanni's father left to find work in Germany, he told Yanni to take care of his mother and to keep the family business going. Collecting trash is hard work, and the boys in the village make it even harder. Whenever they see Yanni and Lamia coming, they shout, "Ho, ho, your donkey's lame and Yanni Rubbish is your name!" Yanni tries his best to ignore the boys. Still, the words hurt, especially the unkind words about Lamia, whom he loves. there must be some way to stop the boys from teasing him. After talking things over with his mother, Yanni comes up with a wonderful plan. Shulamith Levey Oppenheim's warm-hearted and uplifting story is illustrated by Doug Chayka.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jackie Hechtkopf
With his father away on a job in Germany, it is young Yanni's responsibility to keep up the family business of trash collecting. Every morning he hitches his beloved donkey Lamia to a dilapidated wagon and goes out to clean the streets of his Greek village. The smelly bags of trash are bothersome but not as bad as the cruel taunting he receives from his friends. They call him "Yanni Rubbish" and they make fun of Lamia. How can he stop them? Inspired by a wedding photograph of his parents, Yanni decides that the best way to earn respect is to display self-respect. With the help of his mother, he fixes up the wagon. When the other boys see Yanni riding in a bright blue wagon wearing a starched white shirt, they decide it would be more fun to ask Yanni for a ride than to call him names. This gentle story of pride and ingenuity should be loved by students and teachers alike. Chayka's oil paintings are like a poem, creating the atmosphere of a Greek village with distinct images. Teachers shouldn't save this one for the social studies curriculum. It should be read aloud at every opportunity.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-Yanni lives in a small Greek village and has taken over the job of hauling away the town's garbage while his father is working in Germany. He and his donkey are cruelly taunted by the other boys, who nickname him "Yanni Rubbish," but he and his mother eventually come up with an inspired solution to deal with the problem. The story presents an accurate picture of life in a poor Greek community as well as a gentle lesson on teasing. The impressionistic oil paintings in predominantly tans, blues, browns, and creams are beautifully done; each one in itself an artistic statement. A story that is of value for its focus on the universal problem of teasing and its positive solution.-Judith Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A resonant story unfolds quickly under Oppenheim's sure hand. Yanni, a boy living in a Greek village, has the task of driving a beat-up wagon, collecting garbage for his father, who has taken temporary work in Germany. Yanni's playmates are cruel to him, jeering at the cart and the poor donkey who pulls it. His mother is sympathetic, but-gratifyingly-it is Yanni who makes changes and alters the depressing situation. A family photograph persuades him that paint, a sign, and other improvements will make the wagon something to be proud of. Although the setting is unusual, the family's drastic financial problems, as well as the boy's dilemma, are rendered at a universal level. The well-told story is accompanied by oil paintings that show a dearth of detail; backgrounds are indistinct, yet every picture evokes the mood as well as the actions. The somber tones used early in the book give way to the cheerful blue of the newly painted wagon; the troubles are not over, but it's clear that Yanni and his family will more than endure. (Picture book. 5-8) .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590783276
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Shulamith Levey Oppenheim has written a number of highly praised books for children. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with her husband, Felix.

Doug Chayka's work has received recognition from the Society of Illustrators of New York and Los Angeles. He lives in Weedsport, New York.

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