Not since the Penderwicks have I been so charmed by a family. The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street does not disappoint. Karina Yan Glaser creates rich characters with wit and depth. The Vanderbeekers are a family of seven who live in a brownstone in New York. When their reclusive landlord decides not to renew the lease to their beloved brownstone, the Vanderbeeker children jump into action with a plan to save their home with help from the delightful neighbors and friends. The Vanderbeeker children soon discover that their landlord Mr. Biederman hides a painful secret. The story unfolds with kindness, compassion, and humor.
This series is quickly becoming a favorite with my children, who were thrilled to learn that Glaser has penned a sequel. The Vanderbeekers offer a glimpse into life in the city. Their parents are warm and loving as are the neighbors who share the building. This village offers a loving network of compassionate adults who help teach the Vanderbeeker children about family and community. It offered multiple opportunities to discuss with my children the importance of connecting with trusted adults, of what it means to live in a community, and our responsibility to our neighbors and to those in our family. My daughter was truly charmed by little sisters Laney and Hyacinth as well as the menagerie of pets, including Paganini the magic rabbit. Twins Isa and Jessie offer a bit of teen angst, while Oliver illustrates what it’s like to be the only brother in a house full of girls. It is ideal for most ages and makes a delightful read-aloud.