Welcome back! Hope you have been enjoying my classroom picks. Be sure to check-out the past reviews from this month.
At each home, Cornelius sashayed to the curb and shimmied to the hopper. Unloading the garbage, not a single praline wrapper ever stayed on the streets. And those spotless streets, oh, how they sparkled.
Synopsis (from Chronicle’s website):
In New Orleans, there lived a man who saw the streets as his calling, and he swept them clean. He danced up one avenue and down another and everyone danced along. The old ladies whistled and whirled. The old men hooted and hollered. The barbers, bead twirlers, and beignet bakers bounded behind that one-man parade. But then came the rising Mississippi—and a storm greater than anyone had seen before. In this heartwarming book about a real garbage man, Phil Bildner and John Parra tell the inspiring story of a humble man and the heroic difference he made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
- Common-Core Aligned teacher’s guide – how to write a story in American folk tradition plus other activities
- Check-out Scholastic’s education site on “After Hurricane Katrina” for tips for teachers
- Newspaper article “Talking Trash: Garbage removal is elevated to an art form by some of New Orleans’ trash collectors”
- Newspaper article at the time of Cornelius’s death in 2008.
Why I Like It:
The is a beautiful book celebrating the human spirit in a modern-day folk hero style. I love that this book shows how a single, humble man who just took pride in his work was able to spread joy in his community. Even in the Katrina aftermath, Cornelius’s spirit was still strong and so was the spirit of New Orleans. The text brings to life Cornelius’s energy by using lyrical phrases such as “sashyaed to the curb” and “clapped the covers like cymbals and twirled the tins like tops“. Also be sure to checkout the Author’s Note where the author explains how he came upon this regional story.
The combination of evocative language with bold, colorful folk art style, and the theme of community make this a winning trifecta. One which I hope will keep this book around for a long time.
PB writers take note of the extensive repetition, alliteration, and exaggeration techniques used in this tall tale style of writing.
Enjoy this trailer made by a group of 4th graders from Swenke Elementary School from Cypress-Fairbanks ISD in Texas.
Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher Chronicle Books. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.