|Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company|
Written and Illustrated by: Maurie J. Manning
Published by: Clarion Books
Published on: April 17, 2012
Provided by the publisher for review
When a young shoeshine boy and his cat decide to reunite a beautiful red cloth with its owner, they unknowingly embark on an adventure that promises to ease his loneliness.Who would have thought this simple piece of cloth could be so versatile? It becomes an apron, a blanket, a zipline, a food procurement device, a headscarf, and a marketing tool. This is a testament to the imaginations of children as well as the multitude of ideas that come with a diverse population.
The urban adventure of this young boy and his feline companion are reminiscent of Peter Sis' Madlenka, complete with unique views of the city and welcoming, multilingual neighbours. However, the vibrancy of the illustrations and the meddling of a well-intentioned neighbour push Laundry Day to a higher level.
Manning's previous book, Kitchen Dance, was a tribute to the joie-de-vivre of a passionate family who loved to dance. She has brought the same depth of feeling and sense of movement to Laundry Day, with a great deal of historical flavour as well.
Not a single centimetre of space is wasted in this book. The inside covers are home to colourful illustrations and a glossary of words in a number of languages used on the tenement balconies. This would be ideal as a first comic book for kids; the amount of text is not overwhelming and it is easy to follow the order of the strips.
My kids thought this book was great fun- I think that the sense of movement drawn by Manning was what they were most taken with. It was fun to see their reactions to so many different immigrants as well. For them immigrant means English-speaking and somewhat isolated from other immigrants, but they were quick to figure out that these people had a lot in common with their mama.
Laundry Day is a vibrant addition to Maurie J. Manning's excellent portfolio of books. The intrepid hero's adventure through a diverse neighbourhood shows a young man of excellent moral character who is rewarded for his thoughtfulness. It celebrates diversity, imagination, and honesty in a format that calls for kids to love it.