Morning Glory Monday
by Arlene Alda
Illustrated by Maryann Kovalski
Another book set in the heart of crowded, busy Little Italy! My boys requested that I share it with you, and so I shall...
This story is plucked right out of history, when a tenement in New York's Lower East Side brightened their facades with morning glories. It is the 1930's, where we join a little girl and her friend, Jackie, as they observe their busy street.
Mrs. Grimaldi, the fishmonger, is grumpy. Old Mr. Shapiro, the pickle-seller, works slowly as he bargains for his wares. It is "hot, smelly, and so very noisy."
When the little girl's mother grows homesick for Italy, Papa tells jokes to cheer her, and the little girl even stands on her head in an attempt to draw a laugh! But although Mama smiles a little, she continues to work hard and take long naps.
A change of pace at Coney Island brings a booby prize, and the *planting* of that surprise not only cheers Mama's heart, but brings new life to 97 Orchard Street.
As this story unfolded, we felt deeply the closeness of the neighborhood, but also the bleakness. Jackie shares a bed with his five brothers, and the view from every window reveals... more brick-walled apartments. The beauty that comes from a simple gesture changes hearts, and therefore circumstances, as Mama blossoms with the morning glories!
Arlene Alda, also a photographer, has contributed to a book called 97 Orchard Street, New York: Stories of Immigrant Life. It is now on hold for me at the library - I can't wait to hear an extension of this sweet story!
You'll love Morning Glory Monday. We did!
(There seems to be a problem with Mr. Linky, so if you post a review today, would you be so kind as to give me the link in your comment? Then others can still share in this fun day! Thanks!