Like every fifth grader, EsmA(c) Raji Codell spent her days within the small world of school, neighborhood, and family. But this small world provides rich material for the often hilarious, always engrossing stories and vignettes in this book. EsmA(c) tells us about: the night she and her mother became "egg vigilantes" against an illegally parked ...
Like every fifth grader, EsmA(c) Raji Codell spent her days within the small world of school, neighborhood, and family. But this small world provides rich material for the often hilarious, always engrossing stories and vignettes in this book. EsmA(c) tells us about: the night she and her mother became "egg vigilantes" against an illegally parked car; her freewheeling first school, where kids could choose disco dancing instead of math; her dangerous neighborhood, which her father made seem friendly and wondrous; the Passover dinner when she stole a matzoh right out from under a rabbi; the awe-inspiring, life-threatening Chicago snowstorms; and lessons about love from tea-reading gypsies and Popeye cartoons.
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Publishers Weekly, 2004-12-13 The author of Sahara Special eloquently expresses memories of her own fifth-grade year in this volume of loosely connected vignettes set in 1979. Readers who savor details will relish Codell's descriptions of her Chicago neighborhood, especially the series of unique specialty shops, ranging from the cigar store ("It was more like a hallway than a store. You had to say `excuse me' to turn around") to the collector's shop specializing in war memorabilia ("Flags with swastikas hung in the window, along with lighters, knives in sheathes, and lots of jagged metal things that seemed to be for throwing at people"). Equally vivid are depictions of Esme's family: her fiery-tempered mother, who encourages Esme to hurl eggs at a rich man's car, parked in front of a hydrant; her soft-spoken, poet father; and the grandmother whose apartment is like a giant treasure chest, housing an assortment of entertaining artifacts. The author periodically interrupts the ebb and flow of family quarrels and struggles caused by being "broke," with landmark occasions such as Esme's initiation to public school, a memorable Passover dinner (when Esme manages to outwit the rabbi) and a freak storm that covers Chicago with piles of snow. With its strong nostalgic flavor and poetic imagery, this warmly humorous memoir will likely find an audience with children of the 1970s as well as with children of the new millennium. Ages 9-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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