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Children's Book Reading by David Gardner: Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade

David C. Gardner BIO

Children's Book Reading - David C. Gardner

David C. Gardner is an award-winning illustrator and visual development artist. Before going freelance, he was an artist for several animation studios, including Walt Disney Animation Studios. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Cricket and Cobblestone, and he has illustrated numerous picture books including the historical biographies The Harvey Milk Story, Sarah Gives Thanks, and Ticktock Banneker’s Clock. A longtime member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators, David is Visiting Full-time Illustration Faculty member at Ringling College of Art and Design. To learn more about his work, please visit him at   

From Kirkus Reviews:

A Thanksgiving Story
Author: Trinka Hakes Noble
Illustrator: David Gardner
Review Issue Date: July 15, 2017
Online Publish Date: July 2, 2017
Category: Fiction

A parade brings good tidings to an immigrant community beset by war, poverty, and illness. Thanksgiving morning on the Lower East Side is a special day for a white immigrant girl named Loretta "Rettie" Stanowski. It's the day of the Ragamuffin Parade, when children dress in rags and collect pennies thrown at them. Nine-year-old Rettie, blonde and rosy-cheeked, needs those pennies because she is the head of her family. Papa is fighting in Europe in the closing days of World War I, and Mama is sick in bed with consumption. Rettie's little siblings are hungry. Complicating matters in the neighborhood are the quarantine signs for the influenza pandemic. Despite all this, Rettie rises to the occasion, receiving compliments from a visiting nurse as she cleans, prepares food, and teaches her little sisters and brother their school lessons. All ends well as the fighting stops, Mama regains her health, and the flu scare abates. Pumpkins and apples adorn the tenement apartment as "a young girl's heart is filled with the hope of Thanksgiving." Noble's tale of parades and tenement life positively brims to overflowing with good cheer, culminating on Thanksgiving Day 1918. Gardner's full-color illustrations depict a bustling community where good spirits overcome bad happenings. All ends well in this parade filled with good spirits and optimism. (photograph, author's note) (Picture book. 4-7)