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Fair Monaco [Hardcover]

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Item Number 254910  
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Item description for Fair Monaco by Brock Cole...

Maggie, Katie, and Nora try to help their always-worried and fearful grandmother by entering her dreams and replacing her fears of burglars, trains, and bills with images of sails, sun, and the sea.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   32
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 9.5" Height: 10.25"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 19, 2004
Publisher   Front Street imprint of Boyds Mills Press
ISBN  1932425071  
ISBN13  9781932425079  

Availability  0 units.

More About Brock Cole

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BROCK COLE is the author of several highly acclaimed novels as well as the author and illustrator of many picture books, including "Good Enough to Eat," "Buttons," and "Larky Mavis." He's also the illustrator of "George Washington's Teeth," available from Square Fish. He lives in Buffalo, New York.

Of his first novel, "The Goats," Anita Silvey wrote in a Horn Book Magazine editorial, ""The Goats" reaffirms my belief that children's literature is alive and thriving." Betsy Hearne, editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, lauded it as "one of the most important books of the decade."

Brock Cole currently resides in Buffalo, in the state of New York.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Children > Ages 4-8 > General
2Books > Subjects > Children > Arts & Music > Performing Arts > Fiction
3Books > Subjects > Children > Authors & Illustrators, A-Z > ( C ) > Cole, Brock
4Books > Subjects > Children > Baby-3 > Bedtime & Dreaming
5Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Family Life > Multigenerational > Fiction

Reviews - What do customers think about Fair Monaco?

31/2* Living in the Ci-TAY  Feb 16, 2005
While their parents are indisposed, teens Maggie and Kate and their little pig-tailed sister stay with "Granny," who lives on a blighted street across from the Club Monaco. Graffiti covers her apartment building wall and barbed wire tops it, a broken auto rusts away on the opposing sidewalk, and trash--some in bags, some scattered by the wind--lays everywhere. Even at night, the grey-brown cityscape tones are a convincing argument for urban renewal. Granny's apartment is a little more personal, but shares in the general dilapidation. Moreover, Granny is too scared to let her visitors walk around on play on the fire escape, and has the neighborhood horror stories to prove it. For the kids, it's a veritable prison.

As the children try to sleep, author/illustrator Cole begins a very subtle shift towards a dream narrative. For one thing, the three grandchildren find a forth pair of feet (mysterious!) in their bed, and a figure who suddenly appears in a mirror grabs a robe-and disappears. Three pages later, any subtlety is gone: Disappearing under their covers,

"..up they came in the witch's bed
where the granny-witch was fast asleep.
At that very moment, the bed gave a lurch and
floated out the window into Queen Street."

With the scary city beneath them, Maggie and Katie and little Nora engage in some "lucid dreaming," willing their nightmare into a good dream. They dream of "white sails" and "great birds soaring" and "pancakes and syrup and doughnuts and tea in a garden of flowers near a house by the sea..."

Apparently, the scared and defensive Granny shares in this dream, because when she wakes up (with a smile!) she announces a breakfast of pancakes, syrup, doughnuts, and tea. The neighborhood looks different when they wake up: It appears cleaner and more appealing; the presence of city workers shows tax dollars finally at work. And Granny is freed up to show the kinds the dance she "learned long ago, when I danced with the Prince in fair Monaco."

It's difficult to know what to make of this book. Older, poor people need kids to release them from entrenched, imprisoning thoughts? Younger, scared people can dream themselves into a refreshed mood? Is that Sigmund Freud and a young Granny appearing on the page where Maggie says, "Don't be afraid?" Did psychotropics and/or a good night's sleep take the edge off? I really don't know--Cole offers no discernable point of view or lesson. While that admirably leaves the book's conclusion to the reader's interpretation, it doesn't really offer any clues about how to cope with the very real problems of feeling lonely, poor, and vulnerable. It's clear that Cole is an accomplished illustrator; his watercolor washes capture both atmosphere and detail, and he cleverly interweaves the dream sequence with the gritty reality. However, I think his resolution of get-away dreamscapes and abrupt transformations is simplistic and unconvincing. Perhaps the "message" is as simple as this: Getting a good night's sleep, coupled with the energy and imagination of teens and children is as good an antidote to living in poverty as you're going to get.

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