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When the house across the street is demolished, Marcy feels that her block looks like "a big smile with one tooth missing." The empty lot fills with junk, and makes Marcy sadder every time she looks at it. Then one spring day, Marcy and her neighbor, Miss Rosa, get an idea: instead of planting a garden in coffee cans like they usually do, why not plant it in that empty lot?Together with other neighbors, they lease the spot from the city (at a cost of one dollar) and work to make it bloom. Community spirit is infectious, and soon the whole block is helping. Even crotchety Old Man Hammer sneaks in at night and secretly plants some seeds. By summer, the garden is blooming with life, including a group of magnificent sunflowers that remain a mystery to everyone but Marcy and the old man.
Marcy's first-person narration accurately conveys the excitement of a community project coming together, and DiSalvo-Ryan's watercolor, pencil, and crayon illustrations depict the marvelous transformation of the brown city block into a world of many colors. The personalities of the diverse supporting characters shine through in these pictures, and sharp-eyed readers can follow these characters' stories along with Marcy; for example, Leslie, a neighbor who is pregnant the first time we see her, brings her baby to the garden later on. Maximizing the usefulness of this enthusiastic story, the author provides information at the end on how kids can go about starting a community garden.
Praise for City Green "DiSalvo-Ryan's warm text is enhanced by her soft pencil-and-watercolor illustrations depicting a diverse neighborhood drawn together by a community project." - Booklist
RL.3.3. Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.