Great Joy

by Kate DiCamillo and Bagram Ibatoulline

Looking out her window to the snowy city streets below, bustling with holiday shoppers... read more

Looking out her window to the snowy city streets below, bustling with holiday shoppers and the twinkling lights of storefronts, Frances notices something. An organ grinder and his monkey have appeared on the corner of Fifth and Vine. The man plays music for all to hear while the monkey, in his green vest and red cap, holds out a collection cup. Frances watches them keenly as they play through the day and into the evening. “Where do they go at night?” she asks her mother. Her mother hushes her and supposes that they must go somewhere. Unsatisfied, Frances keeps herself awake until midnight. Looking out the window, she sees the duo on the corner, huddling in the cold. The organ grinder raises his hat to Frances in the window above. In the morning, Frances asks if they can come to dinner. “Oh, Frances . . . They’re strangers.” On the way to her Christmas pageant, Frances drops a coin in the monkey’s cup and invites both man and monkey to watch her be an angel in the church play. Beautiful acrylic illustrations capture the outer cold and inner warmth of the season, and illuminate how one small act can produce great joy. (Ages 5–9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008

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