26 Fairmount Avenue

Book cover: '26 Fairmount Avenue'
Tomie de Paola
G.P.Putnam's Sons or Scholastic
26 Fairmount Avenue
Number of pages: 
58 pages
Grade / Age level: 

With 26 Fairmount Avenue, Tomie dePaola has written an account of when he was four and five years old and awaiting the building of his new home on Fairmount Ave. The story opens in 1938 with a huge hurricane blowing into town, upsetting life as well as trees. Mama calms everyone's fears by sprinkling the neighbors and the children with holy water. (Direct Catholic references are few, but nice to see.)

Primarily, his Catholic faith is witnessed through his family's relationships with one another, as well as their friends and neighbors. For instance, Tomie's relationship with his great grandmother is a beautiful example of a young child loving and respecting an elderly person. Tomie likes to spend time with his great grandmother. "...my Nana upstairs was a special person to me. I loved her and every Sunday I spent all my time with her." This is quite amazing for a child his age when you realize that Nana upstairs is so old that she has to be tied into a chair so that she won't fall over.

Written with warmth and amusing anecdotes, this book is a delight to read. I highly recommend reading his numerous other books as well.

If you are interested in reading more about his childhood, Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs is about his visiting his great grandmother. Now One Foot, Now the Other and Tom are about his grandfather. The Baby Sister is about his joyful anticipation of his baby sister and the difficulties of waiting for her arrival. The Art Lesson is about his love of art, his desire to be an artist someday, and his hope to take a "real" art lesson in school with a "real" art teacher. All these books are picture books, expressing a child's point of view with reverence for others and respect and joy for life.

Additional notes: 

This is a really delightful little book. In addition to its historical value and charming family relationships, the author's experiences as a young boy who loved stories and was frustrated by his kindergarten class that wouldn't teach him to read and the changes made to his favorite stories in movie form will be easy for many homeschooled children to relate to. - Alicia Van Hecke (1-4-01)

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