Lesson Plans The Pushcart War

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The pushcarts are their first target, the opening salvo in a campaign to rule the streets of Manhattan. On orders from above, truck drivers start nudging pushcarts off the street, sometimes even smashing them. For Merrill, the book——which takes the form of a piece of narrative journalism published ten years after the war has ended——was something of a revenge fantasy.

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Living in Greenwich village during its mid-century period of intense development, she came to hate all the loud, smelly, hulking trucks, and she fantasized about deflating their tires. But usually, if the plot contains an actual battle, the fighting takes place in a world not quite our own, whether in a far-off future, a distant past, or an alternate universe. Plus, the good guys are usually attractive kids, while the bad guys are creepy-looking adults.

When it was republished in , the setting was changed to By , the plot would have had resonance not only with conflicts over expressways in New York City but also with guerrilla resistance in Vietnam.

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The edition is set in All the pushcart peddlers and their de-facto leader, Maxie Hammerman, the king of pushcart repair are modest, honest, and reasonable people who care for their customers and their city. All of the trucking executives are callous boors for whom New York is nothing more than a collection of locations between which they can move goods for profit. We see the peddlers only on the battle lines or in planning meetings, and learn almost nothing about their lives outside work: their families, their backgrounds, their hobbies, their non-pushcart-related hopes and dreams.

Why, then, have so many children fallen in love with the book over the years? What has kept it in print for so long? Across the Internet, many people remember it fondly as a formative reading experience. It has been adapted for television, radio, and the stage the world over. Object Descriptions. Daily Lessons.

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