The concept of homelessness is brought down to the youngest child’s level.
It’s not until the third spread, after the newly arrived, plump, gray-haired woman has mowed a swath through town with her heavy bag, that readers get the first hint that Miss Pinkeltink may be homeless. She explains, “Sometimes it’s a blessing, sometimes it’s a curse, / but all that I have, I have in my purse.” Her heart’s in the right place; she searches her bag for bits and pieces to give to townspeople (though most are a little off, such as the comb she hands to a bald man). Finally the bag is empty save for the “pleasure her gifts could provide.” And then she beds down under a willow tree. Young Zoey sees her and enlists the townspeople to help. Seemingly the next day, the racially diverse people lead Miss Pinkeltink in a parade, gifting her various household goods just as she gifted them her small treasures, until they reach their destination: “Your purse needs a home.” The rhymes, the bright colors, the innocuous and eclectic items contained in the purse, and, most of all, Miss Pinkeltink’s sweet-old-lady demeanor and eccentric dress keep the tone of the book light and the protagonist from seeming pitiable. And though the solution may feel ludicrously easy to adult readers, this is a nonthreatening and simple introduction to the topic for young children who have no prior exposure to homelessness. No explanation is given for Miss Pinkeltink’s situation. Miss Pinkeltink is white, and Zoey has light brown skin and straight brown hair.
Simplistic but heartfelt, earnest, and a discussion starter. (Picture book. 3-7)