This book may bring a surge of business to the Philadelphia pizzeria that inspired it.
The walls of the Pizza Corner are covered with sticky notes, and at first Missy can’t figure out why. “Each sticky note,” her father explains, “represents a piece of pizza that somebody has already paid for, like a gift or a treat.” Missy’s new friend Jane, a girl she met while waiting in line, needs help paying for her slice, for instance. Melmon’s illustration of the line is one of the pleasures of the book. Every customer seems to have a full life story, and the picture uses almost every skin tone on the artist’s palette. Ever since Hanukkah, Missy has been saving up her chore money for her day with Daddy, and if there’s absolutely no suspense about how she’s going to spend it, that’s because many readers will be moved to go to the real-life pizza shop in Philadelphia and make a donation to the pizza fund. It’s difficult not to be touched by the story, even when Scheerger’s phrasing is slightly awkward. When Missy is thinking about what to do with her money, she says, “my mouth is full, and so is my head.” Given the paucity of books about Jews of color, it’s notable that Missy has East Asian features while her father presents white; Jane and her father both present white, and their need is treated with respect.
Warm and affecting. (Picture book. 5-10)