A children's book blog by Miriam Rainwater

A children's book blog by Miriam Rainwater

"TV. If kids are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they'll have with twenty-six. Open your child's imagination. Open a book." ~ Author Unknown

Monday, January 23, 2012

The House on Dirty-Third Street

Title: The House on Dirty-Third Street
Author: Jo Kittinger
Illustrator: Thomas Gonzalez
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Publication Date: March 1, 2012
Rating: 5 stars

All the houses on Thirty-Third Street were old and run down, but the one with the For Sale sign was the worst. I'd call the whole place "Dirty-Third Street." 
"It's perfect," said Mom. 
"It doesn't look perfect to me," I said.

"Hillbilly Heaven" March 2007
As soon as I read these words in The House on Dirty-Third Street, I knew that I was going to love this book. It took me back to the day my parents bought and old, run down foreclosure. They were going on and on about how beautiful it was going to be. They could see it. My six younger siblings and I couldn't; we thought they were crazy.

The Transformation May 2009
The house, which we named "Hillbilly Heaven," ended up being a two-year-long project that we tackled mainly as a family with occasional (much-appreciated) help from friends. We gutted the house and put everything back together. Now, it is beautiful.

But it didn't get that way without a lot of stress and sweat, and that's why this title from Jo Kittinger rang home with me. Kittinger creates a believable tale about the stress of such a huge project and an inspiring message about the perseverance, faith, and community unity it takes to get through such a monumental task. What will it take to cheer up the house (and the neighborhood)?

Illustrator Thomas Gonzalez's watercolor paintings change from dull and gray to bright and colorful, just like the old house and the main character's perspective. I had to smile when I saw the change, because I remember the change in real-life. It's amazing!

Negative elements: None. Great job, Jo Kittinger!

Overall, reading The House on Dirty-Third Street would be a wonderful opportunity for your child to learn about never giving up, being a beacon of light and hope in a community, and the enjoying the reward that comes with good hard work.

What kind of project has your family completed that felt like it would just never happen? What helped you endure?

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