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A NICKEL, A TROLLEY, A TREASURE HOUSE by Sharon Reiss Baker

A NICKEL, A TROLLEY, A TREASURE HOUSE

By Sharon Reiss Baker (Author) , Beth Peck (Illustrator)

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: March 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-670-05982-X
Publisher: Viking

Baker spins a gentle tale, based on a shard of her family history, about looking at art, and what can be seen there. Nine-year-old Lionel lives with his family on Ludlow Street, in New York City, just after the turn of the last century. What he loves more than anything is to draw, but he keeps his sketches carefully hidden between cardboard. His teacher has seen the drawings, and promises him a trip on the trolley. Lionel spends a lot of the story fretting about how to get the nickel for the trolley ride, but Miss Morrissey pays for him and takes him to the Metropolitan Museum of Art after school. It looks like a palace from his schoolbooks, and he is astounded at the pictures there for all to see. Lionel’s Polish roots and Jewish faith are evident but not explicit; the cramped quarters of his tenement and his parents’ disapproval of his drawing are more so. Peck renders her pictures in a burnished sepia impasto; thick skeins of paint limn the trolley, Lionel’s cap, Miss Morrissey’s green coat and matching hat and the great halls of the museum. A lovely way to see how the whole wide world can open like a flower if you know how to see. (author’s note) (Picture book. 7-10)