“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Thursday, April 7, 2011


One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street
April 1, 2011 Abrams/Amulet   • Ages 8 - 12
Story:  When a mysterious man arrives one day on Orange Street, the children who live on the block try to find out who he is and why he’s there. Little do they know that his story—and the story of a very old orange tree—connects to each of their personal worries in ways they never could have imagined. From impressing friends to dealing with an expanding family to understanding a younger sibling’s illness, the characters’ storylines come together around that orange tree.

Taking place over the course of a day and a half, Joanne Rocklin’s masterful novel deftly builds a story about family, childhood anxieties, and the importance of connection. In the end the fate of the tree (and the kids who care for it) reminds us of the magic of the everyday and of the rich history all around us.

Story behind the story:   A note from author Joanne Rocklin: 
"I wanted to write about the magic of the ordinary.  So I began with an old orange tree, like the one in my L.A. backyard.
I wanted to write about kids with secrets.  I myself was once a kid with secrets.

I wanted to write about pets, birds, insects, rodents.   About forgetting, and remembering again.

I wanted to write about the history of a place, how a street is like a book of stories, all different, yet bound together.

Surprise!  One amazing morning, these stories became intertwined.  A surprise to me, too, which is what makes writing itself so magical."

★“Fully realized characters and setting definitely make this one morning on Orange Street amazing." -- KIRKUS REVIEWS, starred

"...realistic, evocative novel, which features a warm and believable community of adults and children... culminating in a confrontation that resolves several mysteries and brings out the best in everyone." -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"In one marvelous chapter the tree tells its own history...This deceptively simple book reminds us how important the things we sometimes take for granted are: friendship, family, love, and the interconnectedness of our everyday world." -- NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS

Just for fun, here's a recipe from the book (perfect for book groups!):

Slice your sweetest oranges.Layer dried coconut and sugar in between them.
Let the whole thing sit for a while, so all the tastes come together, infrangibly.
(If you feel especially celebratory, add some whipped cream.)

FYI:  All the review copies for this title have been sent.  Please check back and see the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say...


dmuldawer said...

One Day and One Morning on Orange Street is reminiscent of the writings of Richard Peck. It's a snapshot of ordinary people living ordinary lives but hoping and wishing for so much more.

Told without excessive emotion or pity, the story focuses on characters more than plot. Each character is well defined and struggles with his or her own issues, hopes, and dreams.

This is not the kind of book that personally appeals to me, but I can see the literary value and its value as a teaching tool.

Will kids be running to get this book of the shelf? Probably not. But adults will recognize its value and it will endure in school and public libraries.

Picnic Basket Rating: 4

PLLoggerR said...

The lives of many people are brought together around the neighborhood orange tree on a vacant lot in Joanne Rocklin's "One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street." Each character has an issue, but none are overwhelming and all seem to help each other in resolving the issue. And yet the book isn't about resolution but about life and living it with all its ups and downs. Learn to live with what you have and give/share what you can.

A great book for both adults and kids, which adults will probably enjoy more. A good book for parents to read with children so that they can discuss life, concerns, change, and love.

A picnic basket 5!

Becky Jensen, Director
Peacham Library

booktoo said...

Enjoyed the book- could pair it with the study of 'our neighborhood'. The entire book takes place in a day and a half and is layerd with social issues. It would work with guided reading 'book group' to get into some deep discussions. I will recommend this title.

KH207 said...

"One Day and One Morning on Orange Street" was an enjoyable read. It takes place in an ordinary neighborhood, centered around an orange tree. There are many characters whose lives are intertwined. I felt at some points there were so many it was a little confusing. All in all, the story was well written with great messages and topics of discussion imbedded into it. I feel that it would be best tackled as a read aloud or book discussion so that kids could get everything out of it. I have already recommended it to my students. 4/5

Anna-Lisa said...

One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street was well written and had great character development. In fact, there wasn't much more than character development. I would have liked less of that and more plot to really get into the story. I wanted to see some resolutions to all the smaller stories that went on in the book.

All in all, I would recommend this book to younger children, between 9 and 10. It might be a little juvenile for 12 year olds.

Picnic Basket Rating: 3/4

Lindsay said...

While I liked this book, I have a hard time organizing my thoughts on it. It has a great message - that a street has a history, and its residents. Trees, and other natural objects are witness to it all even though its residents are not.

I loved how the author connected the current day residents (via Ms. Snoops) with the history of the street, and that is a message we really need to teach our youth - to appreciate what is around them and love the history that it represents.

If I could offer constructive criticism, I would say that the title bothers me...it seems WAY too long, and not personal enough for a sweet story like this. I would also add that I felt the writing was choppy, and sometimes a little hard to follow. The storyline wasn't, but the writing was.

I adored the chapter titles - always little snippets of what the real story was that would be shared in that chapter.

Definitely appreciated the author's note, where she took the time to explain some of the history of the orange industry (and the effects of other historical events) on California.

Full review at:

Picnic Basket Rating: 4/5

Anonymous said...

As a teacher I love how "One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street was written. I really enjoyed how the author built her Characters whose stories expanded over time, but the true story only lasted a day and a half. I know that I can use this book as a teaching tool. I am not sure that students will pick this book themselves to read.
I give this book a 4 in my basket.

loonyhiker said...

I would give this book 5 out of 5. I enjoyed reading about the characters and the author describes them in ways that you feel like you actually know them. Great topics to discuss in the classroom include friendship, family, relationships, changes, family illnesses, neighbors, powers of observation, curiosity, and even magic. I think the students who read this book would enjoy it and be able to relate to one of the characters. This book is just chock full of learning opportunities and I would definitely use it in the classroom.

Pat Hensley
Greenville, SC

Julia Pitau said...

An absolutely delightful story with a touch of mystery added in. A refreshing change from all the recent vampire, etc., books. Joanne Rocklin truly rocks with this book!

Picnic Rating: 4+

Denair Charter Academy
Denair, CA

Aubrey Heusser, Logos Academy said...

This was a really enjoyable book, and is not ashamed of using big words and complex ideas. I think it's right on for the target age group, including some characters they can readily identify with and some that will really stretch them. It is more emotionally deep than most books for this age, but some parts seem like the author is trying a little too hard to add as many different social issues as possible, or to add "diversity" as if there is a quota. On the other hand, the characters are good examples of accepting people's differences, without being too obvious or preachy about it. The story really captures the way a community is interconnected.

I have to give this one a rare 5 baskets - don't miss it.

janette said...

I feel so behind...This lovely book came while i was deep in the middle of Jane Eyre and got pushed to the back burner while I finished it for our library staff book club...
I'm so glad I picked it up again!
What a wonderful book about ordinary life. I love, love Bunny...and her strange, but successful, way of coping with her mother's flying...and I love the connection between Ali and Mrs. Snoops.
I think this book could be beneficial for readers other than at the juvenile level. I am truly enjoying this book and I'm in my mid thirties. :) A good read for all ages...although I think some of the younger readers may not truly appreciate the author's descriptions of far gone people, places, events. I'm finding great delight in them, but i think they would be over a 9 year old's head.
It would make for a good book discussion book at that age though.
Picnic Basket Rating: 4/5

M. Battista said...

What a sweet charming tale! I felt so good while reading it. It took me a little while to get all the characters straight. Perhaps a list at the beginning would help. I'll recommend this as a read aloud to our teachers to share with their students.

Picnic Rating: 4

Denair Elementary School
Denair, CA