Publication Date: April 27, 2009
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Early in the twentieth century, ten-year-old Ben and his family live in the poorest part of their city with other Jewish immigrants. There is never enough money to make ends meet, so Ben, determined to do his part, lands a job delivering hat linings to a hat factory after school. He sets out on his boss’s bicycle feeling strong and free, and has a grand time until, on his way up Hill Street, he gets a harsh comeuppance, one that hurts his body and threatens to destroy his dreams as well.Based on the experiences of the author’s father and illustrated in Emily Arnold McCully’s signature style, this book celebrates a boy who nearly loses hope, but then learns that the future shines bright and full of second chances.
JANE CUTLER is the author of many acclaimed books for children. She lives in San Francisco, California. EMILY ARNOLD MCCULLY, a Caldecott Medalist, has written and illustrated many picture books, including The Escape of Oney Judge: Martha Washington’s Slave Finds Freedom, a recipient of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and, most recently, Manjiro: The Boy Who Risked His Life for Two Countries. She divides her time between New York City and upstate New York.
“Cutler’s text effectively captures its setting and a family’s sense of urgency in tough times . . . . McCully’s watercolor renderings of period clothing, streetcars and colorful storefronts along cobblestone streets give the book a strong sense of place. And her scenes of the rainbow-hued hat linings taking flight are a perfect match for the story’s upbeat ending.” —Publishers Weekly
“Filled with overcrowded tenements and busy streets, McCully’s pictures are clear and open . . . along with the sense of the bustling neighborhood filled with light, color, and movement.” —Booklist
“McCully’s detailed ink and watercolor illustrations capture tenement buildings, garment factories, and crowded streetscapes.” –School Library Journal
“Both the text and McCully’s lovely illustrations depict a nostalgic, glowing recollection of an early-20th-century Canadian city.” —Kirkus Reviews