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Night Daddy

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JR Zincone

Education 341

Dr. Hungerford

February 21, 2005

Images of Poverty in Children's Literature

"Night Shift Daddy" by Eileen Spinelli. Illustrated by Melissa Iwai

Poverty is portrayed in a realistic fashion in this book mostly through illustrations. The apartment is depicted as small and humble yet rather cozy with its warm colors and ample sunshine. The surroundings suggest a pleasant environment as well as a happy tone indicating a happy family full of hope that things will ultimately get better for them.

Of the images portrayed nothing offers a more positive outlook on the situation than the father's well established work ethic indicated by his getting on the bus every night. The family appears to be living within their means and seem to lack very little of the essentials such as food, electricity and heat, but at the same time there is a distinct lack of material goods throughout the home. The wife looks happy, which from experience, says a lot about the families situation both economically as well as emotionally. A much different picture would be painted in the readers mind if the wife was cast in a disparaging light, or was made to look indifferent or unhappy. The family lives in a big city which would imply that there is the opportunity for something better no matter what the educational status of the father may or may not be, this also fills the reader with an implied sense of hope.

There appears to be no blame assigned to anyone for the situation that this family is in, rather everyone seems to accept the fact that the father has to work nights and be away from the family in order to provide for them. The

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