26 Fairmount Street (along with the other books in the 26 Fairmount Street Series) records the childhood experiences of Tomie dePaola and feature his family as the main characters.
In the year 1938, I did not live in the house at 26 Fairmount House. That is because 26 Fairmount House had not been built yet. But Mom and Dad were already making plans to move to 26 Fairmount House. It was all their idea to build it.
I was excited to be moving to a new house, but I didn’t realize how long it would take. Lots of things happened before we were ready to move – a hurricane came through, I started kindergarten, and I helped to put out a fire. So many things happened that I began to wonder – are we ever going to move at all?
I liked the family relationships in 26 Fairmount Avenue. Tomie loves both of his parents – he even declares that his mother is “probably the smartest person in the world”. Tomie and his brother get along well, and the parents obviously love the children. Tomie also has fun relationships with his grandparents!
My biggest concern with 26 Fairmount Avenue is its references to pop-culture. Tomie loves to watch movies. I didn’t mind so much the occasional reference to The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, and Shirley Temple. But the entirety of Chapter Three is spent in the movie theater as Tomie watches Disney’s newest release, Snow White. Now, the chapter is very humorous (Tomie is very disturbed by the inaccuracy of the movie, and shouts out whenever the movie deviates from the real story, much to the chagrin of the other spectators. I laughed while reading it.), but Tomie describes the story from beginning to end, including the magic, and the more grotesque details. I suppose the entire chapter could be taped together…
Whenever Mrs. dePaola’s friend, Mrs. Crane, is scared of a thunderstorm, she insists on being sprinkled with Mrs. dePaola’s bottle of Holy Water. When the hurricane comes through, she sprinkles everyone with the Holy Water.
Aunt Nell tells Tomie that “if you wanted something really important, you could ask your guardian angel, and as long as it wasn’t a bad thing, you’d probably get it.” [pg. 45] Tomie submits his request and it is “answered”.
The dePaolas celebrate Christmas. Their festivities include Santa Claus decorations as well as gifts from Santa. They also set up a manger scene on the fireplace mantle.
Uncle Charles’ girlfriend, Viva, is mentioned three times.
‘Gee’ is used once. Twice, Tomie mentions his dad using ‘bad words’ but the specific words are not given.
Conclusion. Sweet, but not spotless.
Review © 2013 Laura Verret