A CASTLE ON VIOLA STREET

DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan, Author, DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan, Illustrator . HarperCollins $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-688-17690-7

Likable young Andy narrates DiSalvo's (Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen) latest tale celebrating the importance of community and home life. He lives with his parents and two younger sisters in a cramped apartment that lacks sufficient heat in winter. His father, who each morning rises before dawn to go to work, says, "Someday things will change around here." Yet the family keeps an upbeat attitude: the narrator notes that "There always seemed to be enough to go around, even with five people at our table," while his mother comments that "Our family is rich in more ways than we can count." One day Andy learns of a meeting organized by a Habitat for Humanity–like organization, and his family joins the effort to refurbish a nearby abandoned home. As Andy's father succinctly explains, "If you're interested in helping to fix up a house for other people... then one day other people will help fix up a house for you." DiSalvo's conversational text tells how the family pitches in, and readers will applaud the news that Andy's family will move into the next house the group tackles. The loosely rendered artwork effectively captures the characters' energy and spirit of cooperation. This affecting tale will be an eye-opener for youngsters who take their warm home for granted and will send a missive of hope to those who long for the same. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)

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