7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #461: Featuring Marjorie Priceman

h1 December 13th, 2015 by jules


“The snow had stopped. The sky was blue-black, and the stars looked close enough to pluck right out and put into your pocket if you wanted to,
but José decided to leave them just where they were.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


This morning at 7-Imp, I’ve got some spreads from Sonia Manzano’s (otherwise known as MARIA FROM SESAME STREET!) Miracle on 133rd Street (Atheneum, September 2015), illustrated by Marjorie Priceman.

You can tell right away, after seeing the exuberant endpapers, that you’re in for a joyous treat with this one, the story of holiday cheer turning from sour to sweet. It’s Christmas Eve, and José has a frown on his face. The tree he’s trying to decorate is “practically a twig,” and his mother is unhappy that the oven is too small for her roast. “We never should have left Puerto Rico,” she tells her husband and son. “There we could have roasted it outside. Everything is too small here.”


“‘What’s all this racket?’ she demanded. …
‘Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, that’s all I hear all day.
My kids are driving me crazy. …'”

(Click to enlarge spread)


José’s father decides that he and his son will take the roast to the nearby pizzeria to ask if they can cook the roast in a large pizza oven. As they head out through their apartment building, they pass their neighbors, grumbling about one thing or another — from Mrs. Whitman’s children, driving her crazy; to Mr. and Mrs. Santiago’s despair over their children not visiting this year; to Mr. Franklin’s fear of the outdoors (“Are you nuts?! Going out on the day before Christmas?! That’s when all the muggers are out.”), to the Wozenskys, complaining about the high costs of the holidays; and more.


“Yvonne and José decorated the window with the leftover decorations. …”
(Click to enlarge spread)


But when José and his father bring the cooked roast back to the apartment complex, with the pizzeria owner in tow, its smell brightens the mood of everyone in the building. Priceman’s swooopy, swirly lines for the roast’s delicious scent nearly hypnotizes everyone — and improves their holiday spirits ten-fold. In the end, everyone crowds into the small apartment of José and his Mami and Papi: “Thanks goodness this apartment is big enough to hold all our friends,” says Mami. “It’s a miracle.”



Priceman’s artwork here is a riotous burst of joy, energy, and color, and the gathering of folks is a truly multicultural one. (Priceman was the perfect choice for this story.) Manzano’s text is detailed, and she has a particularly good ear for dialogue. I like how Maria Russo put it in the New York Times: This is a “buoyant Christmas tale.”

And it’s just right if you’re feeling a bit of holiday malaise. It might cure just what ails ya.

If you wanna see even more art, head over to Jama Rattigan’s site here!

MIRACLE ON 133RD STREET. Copyright © 2015 by Sonia Manzano. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Marjorie Priceman. Spreads used by permission of the publisher, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York.

* * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) Marjorie Priceman’s artwork always makes me happy.

2) Hope for our planet.

3) This, from Rufus, is beautiful (and way too short):



4) The pink sky at sunset last night.

5) Christmas cookies with peanut butter in them. (It’s the only time of year I can convince my family to make peanut butter cookies.)

6) Prince! Covering Radiohead!

7) It’s Star Wars week! We’ve got tickets for Thursday.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

5 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #461: Featuring Marjorie Priceman”

  1. Thank you Sonia for bringing us a buoyant Christmas story. Love the artwork.
    Jules, sunsets and Prince and Radiohead!
    My kicks:
    1. Meeting up with Matt Holm to have him sign Christmas presents.
    2. Green Bean Books.
    3. Stormy weather.
    4. Rewatched Legends of the Fall.
    5. Crocheting.
    6. The response from Tora Estep of my inspiration poem “How to Write a Poem” @ GetSparked.org
    7. Friends.
    Have a great week.

  2. Oh that book is beautiful – love the nighttime gouaches – and all the color – and fun to see Jama’s extra coverage. Rewatching Legends of the Fall seems a good idea. And have fun at Star Wars Jules! –
    Kicks from an Alaska visit:
    1. snow – started to fall a little yesterday and kept it up during a walk between big flakes
    2. a hip hop Nutcracker with nearly four-year old granddaughter – I think revealing that this little reader would prefers plot over dance numbers – still much enjoyed
    3. getting cookie dough made yesterday for today – and now I wish I’d added peanut butter
    4. hope from Paris
    5. Christmas tree up here – one awaiting at home
    6. reading Christmas books – Mr. Willoughby’s Christmas Tree the favorite
    7. the little Rufus Wainwright video – beautiful
    Thank you Jules!

  3. Good morning, Imps & elves & Marjorie Priceman! Happy holidays!

    Julie: Hope is the thing with feathers.

    Jone: Congrats on the response!

    Katy: Yay for The Nutcracker.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Haven
    2) Layers
    3) News
    4) Sights
    5) Sounds
    6) Laughter
    7) Next

  4. This book’s illustrations are just what I needed to kick in more holiday spirit. Such happiness and joy radiate outwards from them!

    Jules – Hope is such a good kick. Hooray for Christmas cookies and oooh, Star Wars tickets – have fun! Thanks for the music links!

    Jone – what a lovely week – hope you stayed warm, dry and cozy in all this windy, rainy weather.

    Katy – snow! Alaska! Have fun making Christmas cookies!

    LW – Love Haven and Laughter best this week. Such good kicks.

    My kicks this week:
    1) Read The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell. So grateful to Jules for the recommendation. Parts of it wrecked me, so beautifully written and a wonderful tale of courage and love.
    2) Still doing 30 days of yoga, today is day 13. Feeling stretchier already.
    3) Portland Timbers won the MLS cup!
    4) Dinner catch-up with old friends and met 2 new friends with great stories of living in another country.
    5) Got my Christmas tree yesterday.
    6 & 7) A night of Christmas cookie making & watching White Christmas with a friend & her 2 little girls – lots of singing & dancing ensued.

    Have a wonderful joyous week everyone!

  5. Jone, I got review copies this week of Matt and Jenni’s new board books. I had no idea they were doing that.

    Katy, oooooh. Alaska! Safe travels. Sounds like you had a very good week.

    Little Willow, your first kick makes me think of one of my favorite authors (Haven Kimmel).

    Rachel: I think the girls and I will be done with The Wolf Wilder reeeeally soon, because it’s so good we can’t put it down.

    Have a great week, all!

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