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Great Joy: 09/30/10
Harriet's got the holidays on her brain right now. She's been wanting to read stories about Christmas and Hanukkah. One of her first choices was Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo.
The book takes place during WWII in a large city. Frances and her mother live in an apartment while her father is away fighting in the war. Frances has a part in the upcoming Christmas pageant but she is preoccupied by the organ grinder who has come to street corner across from her bedroom window.
The story's about charity during hard times. Frances can see that the organ grinder has no where to go even during the cold snowy nights and she wants to help. Her mother though, alone and feeling vulnerable and stressed with her husband oversees is understandably reluctant to offer help. Frances though persists and comes to a small compromise which is revealed at the end.
All of this is backed up with beautiful illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline. It's one of those books that can be read once for the words and again just for the pictures.