One Good Deed

Terri Fields, illus. by Deborah Melmon. Kar-Ben, $17.99 (24p) ISBN 978-1-4677-3478-3
Fields (Burro’s Tortillas) and Melmon (Baby Wants Mama) present a pay-it-forward story that shows how one kind action—sharing some fresh-picked mulberries with an elderly neighbor, for instance—can turn an unfriendly neighborhood into one overflowing with generosity. As Fields introduces the residents of Lancaster Street, she uses repetition to emphasize how each of them almost unconsciously realizes how they can help someone in need. “Then she had a thought she’d never thought before,” she writes of Mrs. Thompson, the recipient of the mulberries, who gives one of the pies she bakes with the berries to Mr. Riley next door. He helps retrieve a basketball from the roof of a garage, the young basketball players call time-out to rake the leaves of a neighbor who’s on crutches, and so on. Playing into the idea that Lancaster Street “seemed dark and gloomy” even on sunny days, Melmon shows the neighborhood literally brightening with each page turn. A closing reference to these deeds as mitzvahs is the only religious element in the story—it’s clear that these actions cross all backgrounds and belief systems. Ages 3–8. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/25/2015
Release date: 08/01/2015
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-4677-3479-0
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