Several years ago, my mother and I put together a list of great picture books to share during the Christmas holidays. Today, I’m sharing a snippet of a lovely book for middle grade readers from award-winning Canadian author Brian Doyle.
The wonderful thing about Doyle’s writing in Angel Square is his use of specific details. His description of the Woolworth’s department store on Rideau Street, Ottawa, Canada, in December 1945 captures the place and time as seen by Tommy, the young narrator, a boy growing into a man:
Woolworth’s. A Christmas madhouse. Perfume and candy and squeaky wooden floors. Records playing. The smell of perfume and chocolates mixed. Salesgirls with lipstick and earrings and long, curly hair. And pictures of Santa Claus everywhere. Long red and silver fuzzy streamers swinging and arching over the aisles. Wind-up trucks crackling away and the smell of hot dogs and fried eggs at the lunch counter. And toast. And the smell of damp fur and wet cloth and wet leather, the snow on people’s clothes melting in Woolworth’s. And people at the doors stamping their feet. The salesgirls and saleswomen laughing and talking to the people and to each other and the salesgirls’ earrings sparkling and their long, curly hair bouncing and swinging over the perfume and around the chocolates and the toys and the toast and the pictures of Santa Claus.
My favorite part? “And toast.” Actually, the whole book reads like buttered toast. Your holidays will be richer for reading Angel Square.
Happy Holidays from the Story Slinger!