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A Nickel, A Trolley, A Treasure House Hardcover – March 15, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–5—Lionel lives on Manhattan's Lower East Side in the early 1900s. His older brothers make deliveries, peddle chestnuts and ices, and shine shoes to help out. His sister works in their mother's dress shop, but the nine-year-old spends his time drawing and sketching on the backs of envelopes and shopping lists. His parents, Jewish immigrants, hope he'll outgrow this "useless habit," but his teacher nurtures the young artist by treating him to a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Before the outing, he worries needlessly about the nickel trolley fare, searching the sidewalks for found money. While the ride itself is thrilling, the museum is like a "palace" with "polished stone floors" and breathtaking works framed in gold. The dark-hued artwork is brightened occasionally by such objects as the yellow trolley, multicolored marbles, a flower cart, or a lady's dress. Details like a horse and carriage, organ grinder, and fishmonger bring the period to life, though many of the characters' faces look confusingly alike. Most pictures are full spread with text in a vertical frame to one side. The narration is both accessible and engaging. Share this nostalgic story before a trip to an art museum or to enrich social-studies units on New York.—Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

This is Sharon Reiss Baker’s (left) first book. She lives in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Beth Peck has illustrated many books, including Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory. She lives in Menomonie, Wisconsin.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile; First Edition edition (March 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067005982X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670059829
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.4 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,840,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A child of an immigrant family in the early days of the century who spends his time drawing is under-appreciated in this delightful picture book. Although his parents complain that there's "not much use for it" Lionel persists in sketching and drawing on every possible scrap of paper and in every free moment he has. His ally is his oldest sister, Rose, who works in their mother's dress shop. It is she who provides him with cardboard and string from the shop and encourages his efforts. The other person who encourages his art is his teacher, Miss Morrissey, who has plans for the two of them--plans which involved a trip on a trolley. After worrying about the trolley fare, Lionel finds himself at the Metropolitan Museum of Art! What a feast for a child such as he, and for the reader as well, for Peck's illustrations are also art, painted loosely in wonderful muted colors evocative of the period. The book is marvelously designed as well. Enjoy.

For ages 6-8.

Reviewed by Marsha Posner.
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Format: Hardcover
A Nickel, a Trolley, a Treasure House is as much a pleasure for the adult reader as the listener. The elegant prose, with just the right amount of evocative detail, carries the reader to a time of cramped neighborhoods and narrow horizons, a time when nickels were scarce and families emphasized what was useful and practical. Lionel's passion for drawing is not valued at home. In fact, it is something that his parents hope he will outgrow so he can be more like his brothers who deliver dresses, sell chestnuts and ices and shine shoes on the corner. It takes a skilled and compassionate teacher to show Lionel the value of art--that it can let people "see the world through the artists' eyes." The prose is masterful and the drawings are worthy of the trip teacher and student take to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This is a perfect gift for any child who has a passion for any worthy pursuit. It is also a thoughtful gift for a teacher who has helped open your child's eyes to the magic of a broader world and has given encouragement to write, paint, create and dream.
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Format: Hardcover
A Nickel, a Trolley, a Treasure House is Sharon Reiss Baker's debut children's book.

Talking place at the turn of last century, this is the story of young Lionel and his awakening to the world of art. Lionel lives on Ludlow Street in New York City and has never ventured beyond his own neighborhood. At least this is so until Miss Morrissey, his teacher, recognizes his gift for drawing and offers to take him on a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Once inside the museum, Lionel is overcome by the grandeur of the building and the treasures it contains. His imagination is sparked by what these artists have achieved, and he sees what might become of his own ability to draw.

This is a story of awakening and inspiration, and would encourage many a young artist. It is also a story about life at the turn-of-the-century. The illustrations that fill each page bring another era to life for today's youngsters. Illustrator Beth Peck has created beautiful, impressionistic scenes that will surely capture the imagination and bring young readers into a world quite different from their own. The illustrations are historically accurate, even down to the paintings at the Met, and would be a great introduction to early 20th century life in New York City.

The text is lengthy for a children's book, but could be read to children as young as five and enjoyed by older children who are almost ready for chapter books. I highly recommend this book for all youngsters with an inclination towards the arts. It would be a great prelude to a trip to the nearest art museum.

Armchair Interviews says: Wonderful way to introduce children to art appreciation.
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