We just finished a delightful little read aloud from the early 80’s that just came back into print. It was recommended to us by the book lady at our local toy and bookstore. I have long had issues with small, local bookstores. I’ll spare you my ranting, but I’ll say I’m pleased to have finally found a bookstore where I can trust that they will be respectful of me and my kids and know what they’re talking about, a rare combination.
The book is The People in Pineapple Place by Anne Lindburgh. Excitingly, it takes place here in Washington, DC, so local places, albeit mostly around Georgetown, which isn’t exactly our neck of the woods, get lots of mentions. There is a trip to Glen Echo, where the kids ride the carousel, which Mushroom and BalletBoy have ridden many times over the years. The kids also go roller skating in the National Gallery, which made Mushroom and BalletBoy’s eyes bug out at the audacity. There are apparently even teachers who give their students tours to explore the places in the book. I’m seriously considering recreating it.
Bookstores and local references aside, it’s a well told little story. August has just moved to DC from Vermont after his parents’ divorce. He spends his days cooped up, moping about until one day he follows what seems to be a bag lady and discovers a secret alleyway that leads to a street trapped in time. There, on Pineapple Place, he meets April and her neighbors, children who have been frozen in time since before the second world war, never aging or changing, invisible to almost every but August. They show August his new city, both in the present and the past. It took Mushroom and BalletBoy a little while to warm up the story, but in the end they really enjoyed it. The ending is bittersweet, but August, unlike the children of Pineapple Place, changes and grows up a little. I recommend this one highly.