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IRENE AND THE BIG, FINE NICKEL by Irene Smalls-Hector

IRENE AND THE BIG, FINE NICKEL

by Irene Smalls-Hector & illustrated by Tyrone Geter

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: April 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-316-79871-1
Publisher: Little, Brown

 ``Harlem [in the 50's] was a place where nobody locked the door, and you never questioned being black because there were a million people who looked just like you.'' Smalls-Hector's story, presumably based on reminiscence, follows Irene through one happy, event-filled Saturday: washing her face in the kitchen bathtub; going past the ``toilet room'' to a neighbor's apartment, where her twin best friends are among the 13 children and there's always delicious food to share; squabbling and then making up with another girl--''Charlene's people came from...down south, and they were church people''--(the traded insults are wonderfully mild); fearlessly playing in the park; finding a nickel and spending it on a bun big enough to share four ways. Like Howard's Chita's Christmas Tree (1989), this book lovingly recreates the secure childhood of an African-American child in the not-too-distant past. New illustrator Geter makes an outstanding debut, combining a warm palette, impressionistic use of light, a pleasing sense of design, and an affectionately realistic portrayal of the girls. The lengthy text is appropriate as a readaloud or for young readers. (Fiction/Picture book. 6-10)