The Pushcart War

The Pushcart War


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The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill, Ronni Solbert

"The best book about politics ever written for children." —The Washington Post

50th Anniversary Edition, now in paperback


It’s a story of how regular people banded together and, armed with  little more than their brains and good aim, defeated a mighty foe.

Not long ago the streets of New York City were smelly, smoggy, sooty, and loud. There were so many trucks making deliveries that it might take an hour for a car to travel a few blocks. People blamed the truck owners and the truck owners blamed the little wooden pushcarts that traveled the city selling everything from flowers to hot dogs. Behind closed doors the truck owners declared war on the pushcart peddlers. Carts were smashed from Chinatown to Chelsea. The peddlers didn’t have money or the mayor on their side, but that didn’t stop them from fighting back. They used pea shooters to blow tacks into the tires of trucks, they outwitted the police, and they marched right up to the grilles of those giant trucks and dared them to drive down their streets. Today, thanks to the ingenuity of the pushcart peddlers, the streets belong to the people—and to the pushcarts.

The Pushcart War was first published more than fifty years ago. It has inspired generations of children and been adapted for television, radio, and the stage around the world. It was included on School Library Journal’s list of One Hundred Books That Shaped the Twentieth Century, and its assertion that a committed group of men and women can prevail against a powerful force is as relevant in the twenty-first century as it was in 1964.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590179369
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 09/29/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 161,749
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 10 - 13 Years

About the Author

Jean Merrill (1923–2012) was born in Rochester, New York, and grew up on a dairy and apple farm near Lake Ontario. She received a master’s degree in English literature from Wellesley in 1945 and later studied folklore in India on a Fulbright fellowship. She worked for many years as an editor at Scholastic Magazine, Literary Cavalcade, and the publications department of Bank Street College before turning to writing full time. Her first book, Henry, the Hand-Painted Mouse, was published in 1951 and her last, The Girl Who Loved Caterpillars: A Twelfth-Century Tale from Japan, in 1992. In between she wrote some thirty books for young readers, including The Pushcart War (1964), The Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small Cars (1967; available from The New York Review Children’s Collection), and The Toothpaste Millionaire (1977).

Ronni Solbert (b. 1925) was born in Washington, D.C., and graduated from Vassar and the Cranbrook Academy of Art. As a Fullbright recipient she studied folk and tribal art in India. She has illustrated more than forty children’s books and written and illustrated three of her own. As a painter, sculptor, and photographer she has exhibited widely in the United States and abroad.

Table of Contents

IHow It Began: The Daffodil Massacre13
IIThe Blow-up of Marvin Seeley's Picture17
IIIMore About Morris the Florist & A Little About Frank the Flower and Maxie Hammerman, the Pushcart King21
IVThe Summer Before the War25
VWenda Gambling Sees the Danger Signs31
VIThe Peanut Butter Speech33
VIIThe Words That Triggered the War35
VIIIThe Secret Meeting & The Declaration of War39
IXThe Secret Campaign Against the Pushcarts47
XThe Meeting at Maxie Hammerman's: The Pushcarts Decide to Fight53
XIThe Secret Weapon59
XIIThe Pea Shooter Campaign-Phase I65
XIIIMaxie Hammerman's Battle Plan & General Anna's Hester Street Strategy75
XIVSome Theories As to the Cause of the Flat Tires: The Rotten-Rubber Theory, The Scattered Pea-Tack Theory, and The Enemy-from-Outer-Space Theory83
XVThe Arrest of Frank the Flower91
XVIBig Moe's Attack on the Police Commissioner101
XVIIThe Pea Shooter Campaign-Phase II105
XVIIIThe Retreat of the Trucks & Rumors of a Build-up on the Fashion Front113
XIXThe Tacks Tax & The British Ultimatum117
XXThe Pea Blockade121
XXIThe Barricade at Posey's Plant125
XXIIThe Raid on Maxie Hammerman's131
XXIIIThe Questioning of Maxie Hammerman139
XXIVThe Portlette Papers: The LEMA Master Plan & The Plot to Capture Maxie Hammerman143
XXVThe Three-Against-One Gamble & The Capture of the Bulletproof Italian Car153
XXVIMaxie Hammerman's War Chest: A Philosophy of War161
XXVIIThe Truck Drivers' Manifesto165
XXVIIIThe Truce167
XXIXThe Peace March173
XXXMack's Attack179
XXXIThe Sneak Attack187
XXXIIFrank the Flower's Crocheted Target191
XXXIIIThe Turning Point: The War of Words197
XXXIVThe Battle of Bleecker Street207
XXXVThe Pushcart Peace Conference & The Formulation of The Flower Formula for Peace213
XXXVIThe Post-War Years219

Customer Reviews

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Pushcart War 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
AlexTheHunn on LibraryThing 12 days ago
I read this book as a child. It was enchanting - delightful. This was one of the first times I ever saw something written as a future history. I was enthralled by the device. The gentle humor combined with the environmental and social message has proven eerily accurate and precient.
TonyT2 More than 1 year ago
Morris and Frank and their fellow pushcart-owning friends are being forced off the streets by the mayor, who is in the pocket of the Big Three trucking company decide to fight back. Fine social satire. Inspiring, and very, very funny.
Louisie More than 1 year ago
cute novel.  simple David vs. Goliath story but with NYC pushcarts vs. trucks.  truly entertaining for children, but mostly adults, I think!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My teacher read me this good i highly recommend it u ve gotta read it before u die. U only live once ya know
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Pushcart War was a really good book. It's funny, unpredictable, and overall has a good plot. It could have been more attention-grabbing but other than that has no flaws. I think it was a fun read and you should try it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great. It is funny, It's cleaver it's smart. One of the greatest book's I have ever read. If you have not read this book you should read it. This is one of my favorite book's ever. It teaches a valubale lesson
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! What a funny book! #1!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is wonderful! One part was boring when they were in a meeting but it was a wonderful book... Many parts will make you laugh or get in shock.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My class also read it and we found it to very funny. I think it was humour that my class needed. We are used to reading sad and woeful stories, buy now we have read this book, and it has given humour.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this bood with my class and it was good. We all laughted.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this was the best book I've read other than 'The Davinchi Code'.I think this book should be for anybody that can read.It would be good for kids or adults that are about 10 through 30.I think that anybody would like this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was a great book i would reccomend it to anyone who can read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i thought this book was boring and stupid. the rest of my peers feel the same way i do but maybe our perciption of the book is worse than most because we had to read it in class but we felt that this book was poorly written.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Pushcart War is a great book for all ages. It is smart, yet witty. I would recomend it to everyone I know. You would love it! Buy in at Barns & Noble Bookstore...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I remember my 5th grade teacher, Miss Kilgore, reading this book to our class in 1978. It was fun then and it is fun now. I am reading it to my 8 year old son. Enjoy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked the book very much but I thought that the best part was when the pushcarts won the war and everybody was dancing in the streets! I reconmend that you read this book! ~Represent~
Guest More than 1 year ago
Only a loser could give this book a 1 star. Living in New York this book adds real details and I can match the descriptions to real life. This book is very funny and I recommend it to anyone, any age. This book has a great moral.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A tale about the pushcart peddlers and the massive trucks, who block the streets of New York. The Pushcart peddlers are fed up of being pushed around by the bossy truckers. They fight back! I found it wonderfully told and if your looking for a page turner, your search is over
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading the Pushcart War. This book has history and has true facts but it also is in a story form that makes it fun to read! I would recomend this book to readers out there who like nonfiction books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The PushCart War is a great book and I enjoy reading it. You'll love this adventurous book with many twists and turns!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book was a lot of fun to read. It is funny with an exciting fictional twist. This boook has a very unique theme which makes it great to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was reading this for a class and it was so funny and satirical I laughed every momoent, practically!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was really good because every word just made you want to keep reading
Guest More than 1 year ago
i like this book alot i like General Anna the best she is my hero.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome.The first time I read it I couldn't put it down.I have now read it 3 times and it's just as good.If you like funny books with clever ideas this is a great book. 5 stars