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Raised in the crowded community of a tenant building on the Lower East Side, young Lionel uses his imagination to draw a world beyond his neighborhood, but when he has the opportunity to venture to a different part of the city and view the world of art at the big museum, Lionel's world is forever changed.
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This is Sharon Reiss BakerÂ's (left) first book. She lives in West Hartford, Connecticut.
Beth Peck has illustrated many books, including Truman CapoteÂ's A Christmas Memory. She lives in Menomonie, Wisconsin.From School Library Journal:
Grade 2–5—Lionel lives on Manhattan's Lower East Side in the early 1900s. His older brothers make deliveries, peddle chestnuts and ices, and shine shoes to help out. His sister works in their mother's dress shop, but the nine-year-old spends his time drawing and sketching on the backs of envelopes and shopping lists. His parents, Jewish immigrants, hope he'll outgrow this "useless habit," but his teacher nurtures the young artist by treating him to a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Before the outing, he worries needlessly about the nickel trolley fare, searching the sidewalks for found money. While the ride itself is thrilling, the museum is like a "palace" with "polished stone floors" and breathtaking works framed in gold. The dark-hued artwork is brightened occasionally by such objects as the yellow trolley, multicolored marbles, a flower cart, or a lady's dress. Details like a horse and carriage, organ grinder, and fishmonger bring the period to life, though many of the characters' faces look confusingly alike. Most pictures are full spread with text in a vertical frame to one side. The narration is both accessible and engaging. Share this nostalgic story before a trip to an art museum or to enrich social-studies units on New York.—Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools
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