YANNI RUBBISH by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim


Age Range: 5 - 8
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A resonant story unfolds quickly under Oppenheim’s sure hand. Yanni, a boy living in a Greek village, has the task of driving a beat-up wagon, collecting garbage for his father, who has taken temporary work in Germany. Yanni’s playmates are cruel to him, jeering at the cart and the poor donkey who pulls it. His mother is sympathetic, but—gratifyingly—it is Yanni who makes changes and alters the depressing situation. A family photograph persuades him that paint, a sign, and other improvements will make the wagon something to be proud of. Although the setting is unusual, the family’s drastic financial problems, as well as the boy’s dilemma, are rendered at a universal level. The well-told story is accompanied by oil paintings that show a dearth of detail; backgrounds are indistinct, yet every picture evokes the mood as well as the actions. The somber tones used early in the book give way to the cheerful blue of the newly painted wagon; the troubles are not over, but it’s clear that Yanni and his family will more than endure. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 1-56397-668-4
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Boyds Mills
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1999


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