A girl and her mother move into an old, run-down house and dare to dream that one day it will become a cozy home.
The story is tinged with an underlying heartache from the very start: “Mom said starting over would be an adventure, so I imagined a tropical island with palm trees and buried treasure. / Not this.” All of the houses on 33rd Street are old, but one in particular is falling apart. The understandably crabby young narrator proclaims it to be “Dirty-third Street.” Mother and daughter set to work cleaning and scrubbing, but there are so many other needed repairs, it seems hopeless. In a poignant example of a child’s quiet strength, the narrator asks for help the next day at church. She wishes to see the house with eyes of faith; she wants to picture the potential instead of disappointment. Suddenly friends and neighbors start dropping by, each doing a small turn to help out. It’s not “Dirty-third Street” anymore. Gonzalez’s illustrations start pale, with a few tints of color and heavily sketched details. But when a spark of hope emerges, and the tide turns, cheeks are flushed and eyes start to sparkle. The sky blazes with a warm sunset on the final full-color spread.
A tale of generosity, faith and friendship. Share it quietly within and with others. (Picture book. 4-8)