26 Fairmount Avenue

by Tomie dePaola (Author)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Tomie dePaola's stories from the momentous year his family built their new house at 26 Fairmount Avenue highlight his wit, sense of humor, and strong family bonds. The book earned raves from reviewers of all ages and a Newbery Honor award.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review
Kicking off a series by the same name, dePaola's effervescent chapter book recounts some memorable moments from the author's early years, surrounded by loving family members and friends. Fans will recognize a few of the cast members from the author's various autobiographical picture books. Organized as an engaging pastiche of memories from 1938 to 1939, the story's primary focus is the snafu-plagued construction and landscaping of the dePaola family's "first and only house," in Meriden, Conn. Within this clever framework, other diverting vignettes surface: during the hurricane of 1938, dePaola's mother sprinkles holy water on a terrified neighbor for protection; young Tomie generously shares "chocolates" he finds hidden in the bathroom with his Nana Upstairs (they turn out to be laxatives); and on the first day of kindergarten, when he learns that reading is not taught until first grade, he announces, "Fine, I'll be back next year," and heads home. DePaola successfully evokes the voice of a precocious, inquisitive five-year-old everyone would want to befriend. Charming black-and-white illustrations animate the scenes and add a period flare, including a photo album-like assemblage of the characters' portraits at the book's start. Readers will also appreciate a glimpse of the artist's early debut as he draws life-size images of his family on the plasterboard walls in his new house. DePaola seems as at home in this format as he did when he first crossed the threshold of 26 Fairmount Avenue, an address readers will eagerly revisit in the series' subsequent tales. Ages 7-11. (Apr.)

School Library Journal

K-Gr 4 An autobiographical account of dePaolas childhood, centered on the building of his familys new house during the 1930s. Each short chapter is also a slice-of-life view of young Tomie's world witnessing a hurricane, a disillusioning first day of kindergarten, a much anticipated theater trip to see Disneys Snow White, and holiday gatherings. The authors thrill at being allowed to draw on the walls of the new house before plastering would be a fantasy come true for many budding artists. DePaola presents it all with a keen understanding of the timeless concerns children share. Filled with subtle humor and detail that children will appreciate, the narrative is crisp and casual, making it an ideal read-aloud. Black-and-white drawings portray family members, many of whom are already familiar from earlier picture books. A thoroughly entertaining and charming story.Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Library, WI

Copyright 1999 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Tomie dePaola
Tomie dePaola is the author and/or illustrator of more than 250 books for children. He receive a Caldecott Honor for Strega Nona and a Newbery Honor for 26 Fairmont Avenue. He lives in New London, New Hampshire. Visit his website at www.tomie.com.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
April 19, 1999
26 Fairmount Avenue Books
Newbery Medal
Honor Book 2000 - 2000
Bluebonnet Awards
Nominee 2001 - 2001
Monarch Award
Nominee 2005 - 2005
Massachusetts Children's Book Award
Nominee 2001 - 2002
Sequoyah Book Awards
Nominee 2001 - 2002

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