One windy day a young shoeshine boy makes a world of new friends.
Unable to make a sale, he looks up to see a long, bright-red scarf drifting down to him as he sits dejectedly on the curb. The story of his search for the owner is told with dialogue balloons in comic-book style. Text and illustrations are mutually dependent as one panel follows another, moving the story along. The plucky little boy fearlessly climbs fire escapes, walks across clothes lines and shimmies up and down pipes. Chinese, African-American, Ukrainian, Italian, Polish, Irish, Jewish and Caribbean Island immigrants all greet him kindly, and he in turn performs small services for them. With each interaction, he is exposed to a bit of their cultures. The dialogue is simple and has the flavor and syntax of each speaker’s homeland with a word from their language nicely incorporated. The scarf is finally returned to its rightful owner, and there’s a surprise reward for the boy. Manning’s expressive and detailed digital pencil, watercolor and pastel drawings depict an unnamed but unmistakable turn-of-the-20th-century New York City. Laundry whips in the wind, and busy people on every floor of the buildings are shown from multiple perspectives.
Everything teems with movement and life—completely beguiling. (foreign word list) (Picture book. 4-9)