Vanderbeekers of 141st Street
Karina Yan Glaser
Houghton Mifflin, 2018 (2017)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
Reviewed by Lyn Seippel
he Vanderbeeker children have always lived in the brownstone at 141st Street in Harlem. Now they have to move. Their lease is up and their bad-tempered old landlord, Mr. Biederman, refuses to renew it. He wants the family out before the New Year.
he five siblings are overwhelmed with the unfairness of it all. They are sure they can make Mr. Biederman understand this if only they could talk to him. That's not going to be easy, because although he lives on the top floor of the brownstone, they've never met him. He never leaves his apartment. He does call and complain to their dad about their activities: such as bouncing a ball on the front walk, making too much noise, Isa practicing the violin, and any number of things he considers violations of his peace.
ith Christmas just days away, the children decide the best thing to do is win him over by being kind. They offer homemade gifts, notes and even a petition from their neighbors asking that he renew their lease, but so far nothing is working and some ideas, such at the petition have consequences that are hurting their cause.
his book ends a little too simply. There is no turning point for Mr. Biederman that the reader can see. It's a nice feel good story though and sometimes that's just what we need.
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