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HOT DAY ON ABBOTT AVENUE by Karen English

HOT DAY ON ABBOTT AVENUE

By Karen English (Author) , Javaka Steptoe (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: May 24th, 2004
ISBN: 0-395-98527-7
Publisher: Clarion

It’s a hot day—it’s also a “best-friend-breakup day.” As Miss Johnson works her crossword puzzle and dozes, as Mr. Paul weeds his flower bed, Kishi and Renée remain resolutely apart: it appears that Kishi bought the very last blue ice pop, even though she knows that’s Renée’s favorite. It’s a “never-speak-to-her-again-even-if-she-was-the-last-person-on-earth day.” But then the siren song of jump-rope chanting calls and the girls are reunited in double-dutch—finding final resolution in one last, shared blue ice pop. English has childhood spats down pat, the apocalyptic sundering of a friendship miraculously healed by play. Steptoe’s textured collage illustrations feature tissue-paper clothing over paper skin, all set against a background of rough wooden boards. He renders facial features in a highly naturalistic manner, with outsized lips and flat noses; it’s an effect that may initially be off-putting for readers accustomed to smooth prettiness, but the total effect is both original and emotionally effective (particularly when the girls are squinty-mad, the ugliness of their emotions showing up clearly on their faces). The final scenes, of play and ice pops, are full of movement and energy and joy. “So good!” (Picture book. 5-8)