Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

26 Fairmount Avenue

26 Fairmount Avenue

Tomie dePaola
Fiction  Series
For ages 7 to 10
Penguin and Putnum, 2001   ISBN: 978-0698118645

1938 was a big year for young Tomie. He remembers that it was the year his town was hit by a hurricane, something that didn’t happen very often in Connecticut. His family watched in amazement and fear as tree branches, lawn furniture, and garbage cans flew past their windows. More importantly they heard that their new house, or rather the house they were having built on Fairmont Avenue, had twisted around on its foundation. Luckily it was all right.

The new family home on Fairmont Avenue was very important to everyone in Tomie’s family. It was very hard for them when things kept happening to slow everything down; when the road was messed up by the city; when the builders and Tomie’s father had a huge argument, and so on. Sometimes it seemed as if the house would never be finished and the family would live in apartments for ever.

Around the various house crises Tomie had his own little adventures, and we get to meet some of the wonderful and often amusing members of his extended family. We learn that Tomie himself was not the most patient of little boys. When he discovered that he wouldn’t learn to read in kindergarten he decided to leave school, informing the teacher that he would return for first grade when they would teach him to read. He also had decided opinions on how things should and should not be done. For example, he was most put out with Walt Disney for getting the story of "Snow White" hopelessly wrong. After all, the movie maker left out some very important bits of the "true story."

With humor and close attention to detail the author takes us into his childhood homes and into his family circle, sharing his delightful friends and relatives with us and showing us an interesting and special part of American life as it was in the late 1930’s and just before WWII broke out.

This book won a Newbery Honor.