A five year old's world which begins and ends with his mother and seems table is viewed through the eyes of young Bobby Hirshman and told accordingly and lubly. For Bobby is a very verbal child whose tongue is given to twisting (""You're crazy like a daisy, Fifi-la-la-Libby""). But once you get used to all these nonsense words and name calling, you may share in these scenes of Lower East Side, N.Y.C. and its good natured schreierei; Mrs. Greneker whose feud with the landlord leads to further protest (garbage, out the window); the expansive Carmella; and the other familiars of the neighborhood. For Bobby, there's first day at school and the new friend he meets, Johnny Schaefer. This brings many ""tsores"" (troubles) into his own life since Johnny's mother is very sick and at her death, Bobby loses his own immunity to the intimations of mortality. With the loss of that childish certainty-mothers don't die- Bobby grows up a little and the book closes.... A first novel, true to a time- the early '30's, and close to experience- guessably the author's, this wavers between sentiment and schmaltz. Make the distinction and take your choice.