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2008 Award
Great Joy
( by Kate DiCamillo /illus by Bagram Ibatoulline, Candlewick $16.99 Score: ) Frances is getting ready for the Christmas pageant, but she is worried about where the organ grinder and his monkey, on the street corner, go at night. While adults, including her mother seem less concerned, Frances is more than curious. Set in the early 40ís this timepiece has a back-story that will not be apparent to children. Organ grinders are a thing of the past, as are the old fashioned cars, and fashions. The red, white and blue buntings mixed in with the Christmas decorations reflect the same era that only older grandparents will recall. Add to this, Francesí father in his Naval uniform, who appears only in a photo on the shelf, but is never mentioned in the story. Paintings with a warm glow of another era add much to the power of this endearing story about the joy found in caring for others. A gem that connects the past and the present.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Review Published:

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