1.29.2011

Ringing City: The Lonely Phone Booth

The Lonely PhoneboothMom says:
Recently, while reading one of the Henry Huggins books to my 6 year old I found myself having to explain the concept of a phone booth.  Remember when you used to have to wait in line to talk on the phone, or -- better yet -- stand still? If you want to introduce your children to the ancient artifact that is a public telephone booth I suggest Peter Ackerman's book The Lonely Phone Booth to set you on your way. Afterward, you will have to locate your own relic to share the experience with your children of dropping a quarter in the slot. If you are in New York City you can head over to the corner of 100th street and West End Avenue, for there sits the phone booth that almost wasn't.

Accompanied by Max Dalton's colorful mid-century modern illustrations, Ackerman's history of this real life phone booth starts when the booth was an essential part of every neighborhood conversation from the construction worker to the ballerina to the birthday clown. But as strange shiny silver objects (pink for the girl scout) suddenly start appearing as fixtures on everyone's ears and the phone booth goes from pampered to neglected, it worries it will be hauled off to the dump like the other booths. However, an electrical storm (and the mayor's grandma) saves the day by making everyone realize the value of the phone booth.

A clever ensemble of city characters and vibrant illustrations of city life make this a great urban picture book. Not to mention the nostalgia rush for the grown-ups.


Want More? Read this interview with the author.

Big Kid says: That phone booth is still there, right?

4 comments:

Even in Australia said...

This phone booth is in our neighborhood so I was excited when I heard the book was coming out. But I was disappointed - I found it a bit boring.

Raising a Happy Child said...

Isn't it amazing that phone booths are becoming extinct. I have mixed feelings about that - I always felt kind of exposed in them. Now people think nothing about someone walking around talking apparenty to nobody - times surely have changed.

Ellen said...

ooh that sounds so so good. i used to take piano lessons right near that phone booth, i have this vague almost visceral memory of walking past it.

also i loved the interview.

Mrs. N said...

I'll have to check this one out! My class and I ended up in a major telephone discussion when one student asked if phones had changed since Bell invented them, and I had to say they'd changed since I was a kid. The thing that shocked and horrified them most may have been the lack of voicemail. Yes, if you were out, no one could talk to you. I bet they'd be interested in this book!

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