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The House on Dirty-Third Street

The House on Dirty-Third Street

5.0 2
by Jo S. Kittinger, Thomas Gonzalez (Illustrator)

A mother and daughter turn a hopeless old house into a loving family home, with faith, elbow grease, and the support of their community.


A mother and daughter turn a hopeless old house into a loving family home, with faith, elbow grease, and the support of their community.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
A young girl is very disappointed when she and her mother move to a house on an old street so run down that she calls it "the house on dirty-third street." First they move the trash out. Offering to take a neighbor's trash to the dump as well, they end up with quite a pile. Then they begin to clean. Our tired, grouchy narrator feels discouraged. They both miss the old neighborhood and friends. At church that Sunday, however, the neighbors answer her prayer for help. Soon many new friends are fixing and painting. Finally, "through the eyes of faith," they have found their "perfect home." The young narrator's skeptical face peers at us through a window on the jacket. Pastel, colored pencil, and airbrush create naturalistic double-page scenes that contrast the textures of objects with the tactile vibrancy of skin. Early scenes of ugly decay and accumulated trash are soon contrasted with clean brightness and containers of colorful flowers. The interactions with the helpful neighbors seem to promise a better future. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—A girl and her single mother move into an affordable but dilapidated house on "dirty-third street," as the girl derisively calls it. With all the restoration the house needs, as well as feeling cut off from her former church friends, her mother soon gets discouraged and her optimism wanes. The girl suggests they visit a church nearby, where she asks her Sunday school group to pray that she and her mother see their new home "with eyes of faith." Soon, people from the neighborhood and the congregation turn up at their door to lend a hand, transforming the fixer-upper into the home the mother dreamed about and helping them make new friends in the bargain. The realistic pastel, colored pencil, and airbrush illustrations subtly and effectively move from gray and bleak to colorful, reflecting the family's growing hopefulness. While the story line is simplistic, it underscores the timeless values of keeping faith and helping others through hard times.—Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VT
Kirkus Reviews
A girl and her mother move into an old, run-down house and dare to dream that one day it will become a cozy home. The story is tinged with an underlying heartache from the very start: "Mom said starting over would be an adventure, so I imagined a tropical island with palm trees and buried treasure. / Not this." All of the houses on 33rd Street are old, but one in particular is falling apart. The understandably crabby young narrator proclaims it to be "Dirty-third Street." Mother and daughter set to work cleaning and scrubbing, but there are so many other needed repairs, it seems hopeless. In a poignant example of a child's quiet strength, the narrator asks for help the next day at church. She wishes to see the house with eyes of faith; she wants to picture the potential instead of disappointment. Suddenly friends and neighbors start dropping by, each doing a small turn to help out. It's not "Dirty-third Street" anymore. Gonzalez's illustrations start pale, with a few tints of color and heavily sketched details. But when a spark of hope emerges, and the tide turns, cheeks are flushed and eyes start to sparkle. The sky blazes with a warm sunset on the final full-color spread. A tale of generosity, faith and friendship. Share it quietly within and with others. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 10.60(h) x 0.30(d)
AD600L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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The House on Dirty-Third Street 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Its_Time_Mamaw More than 1 year ago
This is an endearing story of a community coming together to help a mother and daughter hold on to their faith that the house they just bought would be more than what the young girl had seen as a just a dirty rundown house on Dirty-Third Street. They could not believe so many people came to there aide in getting the house in a cozy livable condition. I see so much in this story of love of neighbors, faith, and the power of prayer. Not to forget good old elbow grease and homemade cookies. This would be a good book to read to the kiddos as a lesson in being grateful for what you have. I could not get over the illustrations. You could almost see the people moving around on the pages. Very realistic. I highly recommend this book. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review from Peachtree Publishers for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. It is my own opinion.
KidLitWriter More than 1 year ago
When circumstances necessitate starting over, a mother and daughter purchase a falling-down house, which the mother believes is perfect because they can afford it. But soon they find themselves feeling isolated and defeated. Longing for their old neighborhood and friends, and overwhelmed by the repairs their new house needs, they finally realize they can't do everything alone—the only way to make things better is to ask for help. They both learn that when you reach out to the community, people answer with kindness. As the house gets rebuilt, so does their sense of hope and belonging. A single mother and daughter need to move from their old neighborhood to a new house that cost less. They move to Thirty-Third Street. The daughter renames this Dirty-Third Street because all the houses look old and run down. Mom tells her the house is perfect, because we can afford it. To the daughter, the house just gets worse when she must empty it of trash before she can actually move her things in. They work hard on the house, until even mom gets discouraged and can no longer see through eyes of faith. The daughter noticed a church, not far from the house, when they drove in. The next day, Sunday, they attend services at this neighborhood church. A call for prayer requests goes out and the daughter answers. She gives a short version of their current situation and asks for prayers that everything work out. Will the daughter’s prayer request receive prayers? Will those prayers be answered? This is an interesting story. What I mean is, The House on Dirty-Third Street is told without ever giving an actual name to mom or her daughter. Any child, or adult, can read this, picturing themselves as the characters and claim the story as their own. That is absolutely what a story should do; transform us into the story and let us absorb every word as our own. That, in itself, makes this the perfect book for any child experiencing an unwanted move. The House on Dirty-Third Street is the right book for any family downsizing their home, especially for economic reasons. So many people find themselves in this situation in today’s economy, making this book an ideal gift. The House on Dirty-Third Street is not a religious story. It is a story of people helping people, neighbors helping neighbors. In a mere 32 pages, the author has shown what asking for help, or answering the call for that help, can do for an individual, family, and community. By the weekend, so many differently skilled people help fix this house simply because someone asked for help. The perfect house mom saw, and the daughter could not, is now a reality for both. The group of people who gathered to help, transformed not only the house; they transformed the lives of the two characters who had felt a great loss leaving their home, neighborhood, and friends. They now have a new home, a new neighborhood, and new friends. This is such an inspiring story. The fear of “the new” is not as fearful as once thought. I think kids will like this book. If they are going through a similar situation, they will be able to identify with the daughter. On each page, the illustrations beautifully depict the story. Each character’s inner feelings are visible to the reader because of these beautiful pictures. Mrs. Huddle’s look, when greeted by mom with a wave of her hand, shows her distrust and uneasiness with the new people right across from her home. The daughter’s distress huddles in a mass of anguish in those first few pages. The illustrations change as the story unfolds. At first, we see grayish, washed-out pictures that slowly change into brighter, yet still muted colors and definition. The last third of the story, as everyone is working away and the house transforms, the illustrations POP! with bright primary colors. I really liked The House on Dirty-Third Street despite not normally being drawn to such bleak themes. This one works. The text and the illustrations work in harmony to tell the story of an unwanted move to The House on Dirty-Third Street. Note: received the book from the publisher, Peachtree Publishers