Nora has made friends with all the people in her buildingalmost. Cranky Mrs. Ellsworth, whom Nora has nicknamed Mrs. Mind-Your-Own-Business, just won't be friendly. Then one day Mommy needs a baby-sitter for Nora and Teddy. No one can take the job...except Mrs. Mind-Your-Own-Business! Teddy is scared, but Nora is curious. Will Mrs. Mind-Your-Own-Business become their friend at last?
About the Author
Johanna Hurwitz is the award-winning author of more than sixty popular books for young readers, including Faraway Summer; Dear Emma; Elisa Michaels, Bigger & Better; Class Clown; Fourth-Grade Fuss; and Rip-Roaring Russell, an American Library Association Notable Book. Her work has won many child-chosen state awards. A former school librarian, she frequently visits schools around the country to talk about her books. Mrs. Hurwitz and her husband divide their time between Great Neck, New York, and Wilmington, Vermont.
Read an Excerpt
They Wore Pajamas
Nobody had more friends than Nora. At least, that is what her father said whenever he rode in the elevator of their apartment building on Riverside Drive with her, or whenever they walked together in the street. People might nod to Daddy, but to Nora, who was six years old, they always called out a cheerful greeting.
"Hello, Mrs. De Negris!" Nora would call back, for she had learned the names of most of the 200 neighbors in her building. And most of them Nora considered to be her good friends. Nora's friends wereall ages and sizes and breeds. Her smallest friend was Russell, who was three, a year younger than Nora's brother Teddy. Her shaggiest friend was a dog named Putzi, and her oldest friend was Mrs. Wurmbrand, who was almost eighty-five. Nora and Teddy liked to call her Mrs. W. for short.
All these friends helped to make life very interesting. Every day seemed a new adventure with new discoveries. Even the most ordinary day could suddenly turn into something special.
One Tuesday morning in the spring, just after Nora's sixth birthday, she woke up hearing unusual sounds coming from the street below. Because they lived on the seventh floor, they missed some street noises entirely, while others, like the garbage truck or fire sirens, made their way up through the- air. This morning's sound was a new one. It was not one that Nora heard every day. Nora woke Teddy and told him to listen.
"What is it?" asked Teddy, puzzled.
"I don't know," said Nora. It seemed a good reason to wake up Mommy.
"I don't hear anything," Mommy said sleepily, but she went with the childrento the window. Opening it and looking out, she saw that a hole had been drilled in the cement sidewalk in front of the apartment house.
"Let's go out and see," proposed Nora. "Wait. I need my coffee first," said Mommy. Nothing ever happened in the morning until Mommy had her cup of coffee. "We'll go downstairs with Daddy in a little while," she said.
Soon the apartment was filled with morning sounds and smells. The alarm clock rang, and Daddy got out of bed and into the shower. Coffee began perking on the stove while Mommy dressed herself
Daddy drank orange juice and coffee and ate two slices of toast, but Nora and Teddy were too excited to eat.
They put on their winter coats, toggle coats with hoods. Teddy had a brown one, and Nora had a green one. And they put on their shoes. Smart Nora tied all the laces. They were waiting at the door when Mommy and Daddy came. Daddy smelled of shaving lotion, and he carried a briefcase.
"Hurry, hurry," said Teddy. "Or they'll be all finished."
"Even if they finish drilling, they'll have to do something with the hole," promised Mommy.
As usual, when they were in a rush, the elevator took them up before they went down. But at last they reached street level.
Nora and Teddy pushed ahead. There, directly in front of their building, was a hole. As they stood looking about they could see four other holes already dug and men beginning to make a fifth nearby.
"It's the trees!" Mommy cried out with delight. "These are holes for the trees."
Over a year ago there had been a campaign along the street to collect money to plant trees. And now at last it looked as if there would really be some results.
"Good-bye," Daddy said, laughing as he kissed everyone. "I'll look for you all in the forest when I come home. Nora, you can be Little Red Riding Hood."
"Will wolves come with the trees?" asked Teddy. He looked excited, not scared.
"Of course not. Daddy is just joking," said Mommy.
The drillers moved on, and the number of holes on the street continued to increase. Before the morning was over, Nora counted twenty-two holes. There were eleven on each side of the street. Mommy wanted to go upstairs andmake the beds, but Nora and Teddy refused to leave the excitement. Luckily it was a beautiful morning, and that, plus the drilling, drew all the neighbors out of their apartments.
Mrs. Wurmbrand came out of their building and into the sunshine. Every day when the weather was fine she went out for a walk.
"How lovely it will be to have the trees at last," she said to Mommy. "I'll watch them grow, like your children."
Next door to Mrs. W. lived another woman, whom Nora had once nicknamed Mrs. Mind-Your-Own-Business. Only she never did.
"What is this mess?" grumbled Mrs. Mind-Your-Own-Business, when she came out of the building. "If you want trees, move to the country." She never seemed happy, and today was no exception. She was the only one who was annoyed by the activity on the street. Everyone else was very pleased. Mommy met and spoke with people she hadn't seen all winter, even though they lived only a few yards down the street. Mrs. Dworsky came pushing a carriage with her new baby, a girl named Elizabeth.
There was more excitement when another truck arrived with the trees. The trees looked small and sad, just branches without any leaves. But even big trees didn't have leaves in March, Mommy reminded Nora. The roots were wrapped...Nora and Mrs. Mind-Your-Own-Business. Copyright © by Johanna Hurwitz. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
My daughter who is 5 years old loves chapter books. We were looking for a new series to begin since we had completed the last book of our favorite series. I began reading this book to my daughter without proof reading it first. A BIG mistake. Chapter one was okay but left me with an uncomfortable feeling. After reading chapter two I should have put it away for good. Chapter two concerns two little kids, 6 and 4 years old who aren't allowed to go Trick-Or-Treating because it is, 'an old pagan custom'. Okay, so I was able to explain that one but when we got to the chapter titled Know-It-All-Nora I was in trouble. Nora is in first grade and finally loses her first tooth. My daughter is very concerned with this since she is the only one in her Kindergarten class who has not yet lost a tooth. Anyway, it goes on to say that Nora should put her tooth under her pillow for the Tooth Fairy. She does with great anticipation only to find out that there is no tooth fairy. She is told by her parents to be a 'big girl' and not spoil the surprise for her little brother. I couldn't believe this!!! This is a book for Ages 6-9 with a reading level of 2.6. Why would any one want to burst a child's bubble so young?? How many kids at that age haven't even lost a tooth yet!? I learned my lesson, I will proof read before I read to my children!