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The Lady in the Box Paperback – September 16, 1999

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-5. A modern morality tale that never strays too far from the stark reality of homelessness while portraying the generosity and concern of two children for a stranger. Written in direct, disarming prose, Ben's story tells how he and his sister try to help the "lady in the box" who keeps her "home" over the heating grate outside the Circle Deli. Worried, they take her gifts of food and warm clothing and eventually find out that her name is Dorrie. When the owner of the Circle Deli tries to force the woman to move, the children's mother convinces him to let her stay. The family volunteers at the soup kitchen, where they see Dorrie and she smiles and says hello. It's a nice moment as the boy realizes that he has made a difference in someone else's life. Backer's oil illustrations effectively portray both the cold and snow of a city winter and the warmth of the homeless woman's smile as she receives the small acts of kindness. Only fleetingly related to Christmas since it's set during the season, this is nonetheless a fitting story to tell during a time so often filled with excesses.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Ben, who appears to be about eight, describes how he and his sister bring food to a homeless woman, Dorrie, thereby bending their mother's rules about talking to strangers--or at least interpreting them widely. Their mother catches on to the missing food and warm scarf: ``Okay, let's see your lady in the box,'' she says. All Dorrie wants is to be allowed to sleep over the warm grate near the deli, whose owner has chased her away; Ben's mother appeals to the owner's sense of charity and Dorrie is restored to her spot. Further, the children start serving food at a neighborhood soup kitchen. Realistic and believable, the story introduces a vast world of homelessness in simple, telling details that are enlarged upon in the art, e.g., a particularly effective picture shows that the people in the soup line are only too accustomed to waiting. Backer uses various techniques to delineate the tone of every scene, sometimes loosely sketching a detail in a thick application of oil paint, sometimes using small, dense flecks to depict snow and the frigid isolation of the conditions outdoors. For readers who witness homelessness every day, the book answers questions, carrying the message that even for large problems, small efforts can make a difference. (Picture book. 4-8) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 370L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Turtle Books; ILL edition (September 16, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1890515159
  • ISBN-13: 978-1890515157
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 10.4 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #445,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is definitely a lap and snuggle book. It's not heavy, but BIG with warm tones and autumn colors settled on the pages. The illustrator, Marni Backer, captured snowy winter scenes that immediately draw you into any large city and any large neighborhood. Could this neighborhood by yours? With each turn of the page, the traffic muffles and city bustle blurs so that you can now be introduced to Lizzie and Ben's dilemma of seeing a homeless woman, Dorrie, and the children wanting to help despite their mother's caution about talking to strangers.
Told with the realism of a child, you'll see how Lizzie and Ben leave Dorrie peanut butter and crackers--but forget to give her a dinner knife. (They did much better when they brought her some warm vegetable noodle soup.)
When their mother takes notice of the parade of missing food items, she begins to become involved. She helps us to find out why Dorrie is homeless and the whole family spends a Saturday volunteering at a soup kitchen.I won't spoil the ending, but rest assured that there is a message of hope for Dorrie.
One of the nicest features about the book is the note from the author on the last page. Written at a level that young children can understand, she explains her idea for the book, where she has volunteered in an effort to help the homeless, and where to start if you want to find out more about homelessness.
Copyright © 2000. Hope Sykes & The RVing Volunteer. All Rights Reserved.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We were discussing GIVING in a Sunday School lesson. One of the older girls (10) mentioned this book. My son was just in kindergarten and his class was starting to discuss giving back, and they were collecting Pennies for Peace. He didn't see the point in it all. I bought this book, and although it was exactly what his class was doing, it was a great, age-appropriate way to bring up the discussion of homelessness and taking care of others who are less fortunate. I think it would be appropriate for any age 5-12yrs.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a JEWEL! I wish it was still in print. I'm so grateful to own it. I read it to my 1st and 2nd grade class every year before winter break. It presents a very serious topic in a way so kids can relate to it. I get a big box and the kids get in it. We discuss the many problems one would have if a box were your home. Everyone gets a healthy dose of gratitude.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this was a fantastic little book that told a great story. I used it in church when we were learning about homelessness. it was a great way to introduce a tough topic to our kids and they totally got it. well done with beautiful illustrations, this little story handled a mighty big societal problem in a delicate but very real way. loved this book, will use for years to come to teach compassion and empathy to my kids, toward those who are less fortunate.
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By A Customer on December 19, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This is a timely, beautifully written, and illustrated book. McGovern treats the subject with compassion and sensitivity. The illustrations are great. A 10+
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By A Customer on November 8, 1997
Format: Hardcover
The book is a great adition to any ones library. McGovern is a great auther. The art an dwords compliment each other. It is a tuching book and has a wonderful kind caring qulity. McGovern really cares about these people.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a lovely story about how children can be a vehicle for change in the world. I used it in my kindergarten class as an introduction to a service learning project for a homeless shelter in our community. My students responded well to the book, and the project was a success.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has detail colorful pictures that reflect the story. This is a great story to share and connect with life lessons.
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