Kirkus Reviews QR Code
WHAT ZEESIE SAW ON DELANCEY STREET by Elsa Okon Rael

WHAT ZEESIE SAW ON DELANCEY STREET

By Elsa Okon Rael (Author) , Marjorie Priceman (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-689-80549-7
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

 An ebullient immigrant tale in which the members of a community take care of each other without shaming the less fortunate among them. On Zeesie's seventh birthday, her to parents take her a ``package party,'' where elaborately wrapped dinner packages are auctioned off to raise money to bring more immigrants to America. The men at the party take turns going alone into the ``money room,'' where Papa says it's as much of a good deed ``to take what you need, as to give what you can,'' and where no one ever tells whether he's given money or taken it. The room is off-limits to Zeesie, but imagining chests of treasure, she sneaks in. There she sees her beloved uncle, Max, take a few dollars she knows he needs; she is ashamed of herself for spying, but happy that her eyes are opened to her loving community. Set in New York City's Lower East Side in the early part of this century and illustrated with Priceman's atmospheric gouache paintings, this book is a sure success. Rael's (Marushka's Egg, 1993) prose is tight and full of details and humor; Zeesie admirably struggles to do right and learn from her mistakes. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)