The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill

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Merrill's story, full of unexpected reversals and understated witticisms, feels exceptionally modern.
-NPR

Synopsis

50th Anniversary Edition

Do you know the history of the pushcart war? The REAL history? it’s a story of how regular people banded together and, armed with little more than their brains and good aim defeated a mighty foe.

Not long ago the streets of New York City were smelly, smoggy, sooty, and loud. There were so many trucks making deliveries that it might take an hour for a car to travel a few blocks. People blamed the truck owners and the truck owners blamed the little wooden pushcarts that traveled the city selling everything from flowers to hot dogs. Behind closed doors the truck owners declared war on the pushcart peddlers. Carts were smashed from Chinatown to Chelsea. The peddlers didn’t have money or the mayor on their side, but that didn’t stop them from fighting back. They used pea shooters to blow tacks into the tires of trucks, they outwitted the police, and they marched right up to the grilles of those giant trucks and dared them to drive down their streets. Today, thanks to the ingenuity of the pushcart peddlers, the streets belong to the people—and to the pushcarts.

The Pushcart War was first published fifty years ago. It has inspired generations of children and been adapted for television, radio, and the stage around the world. It was included on School Library Journal’s list of “One Hundred Books That Shaped the Twentieth Century,” and its assertion that a committed group of men and women can prevail against a powerful force is as relevant in the twenty-first century as it was in 1964.
 

About Jean Merrill

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Jean Merrill was born in Rochester, New York on January 27, 1923. She received an undergraduate degree from Allegheny College and a master's degree in English from Wellesley College in 1945. After graduation, she worked as an editor for Scholastic Magazine. Her first book, Henry the Hand-Painted Mouse, was published in 1951. In 1952 she received a Fulbright Fellowship to study folklore at the University of Madras in India. She later based several of her books on Asian folk stories including Shan's Lucky Knife, The Girl Who Loved Caterpillars, and The Superlative Horse, which won a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award. Her other books include A Song for Gar, Blue's Broken Heart, and The Pushcart War, which won a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award. She also wrote a dozen scripts for animated television adaptations of her work. The Toothpaste Millionaire was adapted for television in 1974. She died from cancer on August 2, 2012 at the age of 89.
 
Published September 16, 2014 by NYR Children's Collection. 226 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Travel, Children's Books, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Fiction
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Excellent
Reviewed by Adam Mansbach on Dec 19 2012

Merrill's story, full of unexpected reversals and understated witticisms, feels exceptionally modern.

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