One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street

by Joanne Rocklin
ages: 9+
First sentence: “It was a hot summer day on Orange Street, one of those days that seem ordinary until you look back on it.”
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In many ways, that first sentence sums this entire book up. It a simple book: what happens is very small, very simple, and yet, somehow, also very important. It’s the story of a tree, a neighborhood, of friendship.

It’s also really hard to sum up. There’s the girls: Ali, whose 2 1/2-year-old brother has cancer and has stopped talking; Leandra, who is bossy sometimes, but is dealing with her own problems; and Bunny, who deals with anxiety and feels like she doesn’t live up to the ancestor whose name she bears. Then there’s the boys: Robert, who is shy and insecure, especially since his parents divorced; and Manny, the nanny (or manny!), who takes care of Ali’s brother during the day and serves as adviser to the kids. There’s also Ms. Snoops, whose real name is Ethel Finneymaker, who knows a lot about the past but is having problems remembering the present. And then there’s the mysterious stranger.

I know it sounds disjointed, and kind of simplistic. But, honestly: it works. It works because Rocklin’s writing is so charming, so well put together, that it can’t help but work. Everything is exactly where it needs to be, every word, every flashback, every story fits together in a whole. And, while it’s not an adventuresome whole, or even a greatly climatic one, it’s a sweet whole. And kind of tart. Kind of like an orange.

My only drawback is that, in spite of it’s lovely cover, I don’t think kids will read this one. It’s slow. It’s lazy. It’s unexciting. Which is too bad. Because it’s a very, very good little book.

2 thoughts on “One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street

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