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|Vanderbeekers of 141st Street|
Author: Glaser, Karina Yan
Told that they will have to move out of their Harlem brownstone just after Christmas, the five Vanderbeeker children, ages four to twelve, decide to change their reclusive landlord's mind.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 192111
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 70618
Kirkus Reviews (07/15/17)
School Library Journal (+) (08/01/17)
Booklist (+) (08/01/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/09/17)
The Hornbook (00/11/17)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 08/01/2017 *Starred Review* As Tolstoy wrote, “All happy families are alike,” but few in children’s literature are as engaging or amusing as the Vanderbeekers, even in a time of turmoil. Twins Isa and Jessie (12 years old), Oliver (9), Hyacinth (6), and Laney (4) react with disbelief, a bit of guilt, and plenty of indignation when they hear that Mr. Beiderman, their reclusive neighbor, has refused to renew the lease on their beloved Harlem brownstone apartment. With only 11 days left, the kids embark on Operation Beiderman, a series of secret initiatives intended to win over their landlord. A biracial family within a close-knit, diverse community, the Vanderbeekers are swiftly, deftly individualized by Glaser, who lets the kids’ strengths, weaknesses, and quirks emerge as each takes the initiative and then deals with the repercussions that inevitably follow. Scenes are beautifully written, and a subplot adds depth to the novel. While there’s pain and pathos here, humor is a constant, bubbling up in unexpected places. The story’s ending seems inevitable, but it’s moving nonetheless, and the journey to that destination is wildly entertaining. Add this captivating first novel to the list of family stories that would make an only child long for siblings. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 08/01/2017 Gr 3–5—Glaser's pitch-perfect debut novel set in Harlem introduces the endearing biracial Vanderbeeker family. Twins Isa and Jessie, along with siblings Oliver, Hyacinth, and Laney (ranging from ages four-and-three-quarters to 12), plus a dog, a cat, a bunny, and their parents, all live together in a brownstone on 141st Street. Unfortunately, cantankerous landlord Mr. Biederman refuses to renew the lease. They have the five days before Christmas to change his mind or they will have to move out of the only home they have ever known. Each child has a plan and a distinct personality to match; the neighbors and friends all do, too. Glaser's detailed line drawings of the block's brownstones emphasize that this book is not just about one family; rather, it encompasses the stories of an interconnected community. Jessie creates a Rube Goldberg contraption that makes music while watering the building garden. Elderly Miss Josie and Mr. Jeet live above the Vanderbeekers and count on their support. A school dance, sibling rivalry, and preparing just the right gifts for Christmas are all subplots that Glaser deftly uses as a tool to both develop the characters and engage readers in the family's entertaining daily chaos. Glaser's love for the Vanderbeekers shines through in her prose and stick drawings. Readers will look forward to future adventures. VERDICT A highly recommended purchase for all middle grade collections. Fans of Sydney Taylor and Jeanne Birdsall are sure to be satisfied by this contemporary urban update of the family-centered novel.—Eva Thaler-Sroussi, Glencoe Public Library, IL - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.