AN ORANGE FOR FRANKIE
Patricia Polacco, . . Philomel, $16.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-399-24302-8
Holiday treats abound in a colorful and touching story of generosity and the ties that bind, based on a story of the author's great-uncle. Young Frankie, along with his eight siblings and Ma, awaits Pa's return home from a trip to get the precious Christmas oranges he buys each year. But blizzard-like weather slows Pa's travels. In the meantime, the family fills the days baking, decorating and fixing a hearty feast for the hobos aboard the train that stops near their property. Pa makes it home in time and the oranges play an especially important role in the clan's celebration. A subplot about Frankie's selflessness adds depth. Several pencil-and-watercolor scenes of the black freight train in a wintry rural landscape as well as close-up portraits of the gathered family and the haunted looking hobos are among Polacco's best work. Ages 5-up.
Reviewed on: 09/27/2004