Great Joy

Kate DiCamillo, the author who brought us Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tiger Rising, and other great books, has now ventured into the picture book category.

And nailed it.

Great Joy tells the story of Frances, who is greatly concerned for the monkey and an organ grinder, who appears on the street below her apartment.

She wonders where they sleep at night, and couldn’t her family invite them to dinner sometime? Her mother, in the midst of Christmas preparations, is impatient with her questions, and dismisses them.

But Frances investigates, and discovers the monkey and organ grinder stay on the street at night.

The next chance she gets, she puts a coin in their bucket, and invites them to her Christmas pageant.

Will they come? Will Frances remember her important lines?

Bagram Ibatoulline brings DiCamillo’s tender storytelling to life with lavish illustrations. The final picture, even without DiCamillo’s words, brought tears to my eyes.

Recommended for ages 2 and up.

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