Thursday, December 24, 2015

Miracle on 133rd Street by Sonia Manzano, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

It's Christmas Eve, but living in an apartment in 133rd Street, everything is just too small for a proper celebration - or at least that's how Jose's mother feels - the tree is too small for all the decorations, the oven is too small to cook the roast in.  Mami is definitely unhappy and homesick for Puerto Rico.

But as  José suggests, a pizza oven would cook that roast.  So, he and Papi, also named José, bundle themselves up to head over to Regular Ray's Pizzeria to see if they can use their over.

But before they even leave their building, they meet Mrs. Whitman, from apartment 4B who is tired of all the Christmas racket everywhere, especially in her own apartment and from her own kids.

Next, they meet Mr. and Mrs. Santiago from apartment 3Cwho want to know if something is wrong.  It seems they won't be celebrating Christmas this year because their children won't be coming home.

On the second floor, Mr. Franklin was looking out his peephole to see if someone was being robbed.  And finally from 2B, Mrs. Wozensky complained that Christmas cost too much money, and who that much, anyway?

You would think that having met all that crabbiness and unhappiness, father and son would be feeling pretty down by the time they reached Mr. Ray's Regular Ray's Pizzeria.  But luckily, the pizza oven was free and they roast was successfully roasted, so successfully that it's delicious smell wafted into the noses of Mr. Ray, Mrs. Wozensky, Mr. Franklin, Mr. and Mrs. Santiago and finally Mrs. Whitman.  With a roast so big it wouldn't fit in the oven, there was plenty to eat and all the neighbors accepted the invitation of the father and son to join them for their Christmas Eve celebration, much to Mani's delight.  What good cheer that night was filled with!

I'm a NYC girl and I just love a good story that takes place in my favorite city.  The only thing better than that is a holiday story that really captures the true meaning of Christmas - peace on earth, goodwill towards all people.  And that is just was the two Josés accomplish with one good-smelling roast and lots of Christmas spirit.   And miracle of miracles, even their small apartment was large enough to accommodate such a large group of people - but isn't that what Christmas Eve is all about - miracles?

I love the neighborhood that Sonia Manzano created for her story, a little reminiscent of Sesame Street (where she resided for so many years on TV), reflecting NYC's diversity in the microcosm of one small apartment building.

Majorie Priceman's bright, colorful gouache painting, done in a palette of sparkling Christmasy colors, add so much to the warmth and feeling of community of the story.  They are happy and hectic like the city and the apartment, but with room for everyone.

If you want a Christmas book that isn't about Santa Clause, or just need a break from shopping and mall madness, or maybe just looking for some down time, Miracle on 133rd Street is the book for you.

This book is recommended for readers age 4+
This book was borrowed from a friend

1 comment:

  1. I love the premise of this diversity Christmas story! And I'm so glad that the years on Sesame Street has found their way into this picture book!


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