On Linden Square
It's the first day of winter vacation and Stella Mae Culpepper is bored. As she looks out from the window of her second-floor apartment, she can see all of the usual happenings on Linden Square, her city neighborhood. There are her neighbors. She knows them all by name--or by the names she's given them, depending on their activities and what Stella Mae can see from her window. Stella Mae thinks she knows her neighbors but she doesn't really. Everyone in the neighborhood is too busy minding their own business to pay much attention to anyone else. But now it's the first day of winter vacation and a storm is coming. Not just any storm but a big, wonderful winter storm. It's a blizzard! And when the snow finally stops and Stella Mae ventures outside to play, something quite marvelous happens on Linden Square.
|Interest Level||Grade 1 - Grade 3|
|Reading Level||Grade 2|
|ATOS Reading Level||4.3|
|Guided Reading Level|
|Publisher||Sleeping Bear Press|
|Available Formats||Hardcover (9781585368327), PDF (9781627530484), Hosted ebook (9781627536097)|
|Number of Pages||40|
|Dimensions||9 x 11|
Booklist Online Reviews "On Linden Square"
While there are many books about building friendships, this one celebrates the creation of a community. Initially, the neighbors of Stella Mae Culpepper keep to themselves, listening to their own music, ridingtheir bikes, and playing with their dogs. And Stella remains aloof, too, as an observer. But a snowstorm brings them all out at once, first to wonder at Stella’s snow sculpture creation and then to join in, adding unique features including horns and dancing feet. Ultimately, they create Ferdinand Ganesh, the Jazzy Dancing Baba Feng Shui Elephant-Mouse, a reflection of their varied cultures and interests and whimsical enough to delight all readers. Sullivan’s watercolor illustrations, which leave plenty of white space on the page, are lively and fluid, with few straight lines outlining soft colors. The cartoonlike humans are more realized by their actions than their features, but the text and illustrations individualize them all, showing their unique interests. A glossary at the conclusion explains many of the musical terms interspersed in the text, along with cultural references. Move over, Frosty, more imaginative snow sculptures are on the way.
School Library Journal Reviews "On Linden Square"
Home on her winter vacation, Stella Mae Culpepper surveys the scene from her second-floor window overlooking the square below. She spies her many neighbors, none of whom seem to interact with one another. Then, following a heavy snowstorm, she ventures to a park across the street and begins rolling a snowball. Surprisingly, she is soon joined by her fellow residents, all of whom participate in the snow sculpting. Each one has a different interpretation of what they are jointly creating. Readers familiar with children’s literature will recognize the characters’ references to Ferdinand the Bull, Babar, and Baba Yaga. Stella Mae distills the suggestions and “triumphantly” calls the sculpture, “Ferdinand Ganesh, the Jazzy Dancing Baba Feng Shui Elephant-Mouse.” Outdoors for the rest of the day, the celebrating neighbors interact eating latkes and tacos with cider, enjoying music, and dancing by candlelight. Sullivan’s friendly storytelling is accompanied by pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations that are reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s style. Sullivan outlines elements using narrow black lines and tucks in small details. Along with giving the characters even more personality, the artwork nicely defines the setting. This pleasant story would be a worthy choice for libraries needing picture books with a message about cooperation and being neighborly.
Author, Illustrator: Kate Sullivan
Kate Sullivan likes to play around with words, music, and pictures. She is a storyteller who uses a multimedia approach to touch audiences. A linguist by training (B.A. in French and Latin), she is also an award-winning composer and performer. Her one-woman theatre piece about Lotte Lenya and Kurt Weill won the Independent Reviewers of New England prize and her Fugitum Est was premiered by The Kremlin Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. She has also given many solo performances, from Sculler’s Jazz Club in Boston to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in New York, always singing and playing anything from the piano to the musical saw. Kate has been painting for many years, everything from portraits and landscapes to cartoons. Her writings include a travel memoir, a screenplay, short stories, and poetry. Kate lives with her husband in Newburyport, Massachusetts, a little city on the ocean, where they enjoy a country mouse–city mouse life. On Linden Square is her first picture book for children.