Title: Laundry Day
Author/Illustrator: Maurie J. Manning
Publisher: Clarion Books (HMH)
Publ. Date: April, 17, 2012
Laundry Day is going on my list of favorite new urban picture books. Set in early 20th century New York City, a length of red fabric floats down and lands on young shoeshine boy. He looks up to see miles of laundry lines criss-crossing the tenement-lined alleyway. Determined to find the owner of the vibrant cloth, he hoists himself up on the fire escape. Making his way from apartment to apartment he encounters the friendly inhabitants from various cultural backgrounds, including a Chinese grandmother, four young Polish girls, a harried Irish mother, an African-American prospector, and others. Each neighbor expresses their admiration for the fabric, using a cultural reference (and new foreign word) but it is not until he reaches the roof, that the shoeshine finds its owner.
Although the action of Laundry Day takes place in a single, rather confined location, author-illustrator, Manning, has marvelously created an uplifting portrait of a diverse and densely populated city. It looks like a lovely place to live -- interesting neighbors, different cultures and friendly faces. Manning illustrates the books using a multi-panel (or storyboard) layout which both enhances the feeling of close-knit living as well as nicely accents the shoeshine as he adeptly climbs railings, slides and tightrope-walks across clotheslines and shimmies up pipes. In this book, the city is indeed a fun place to be.
Laundry Day is an excellent choice for your next family story time, whether you're an urban-dweller or not. I highly recommend it.
Little Kid says: He climbed to the top!
Big Kid says: That looks a little dangerous.
Visit Maurie J. Manning's website.
Reviews at Perogies & Gyoza, Bookalicious and Waking Brain Cells.