From an award-winning author of historical fiction comes a story of survival, crime, adventure, and horses in the streets of 19th century New York City. Eleven-year-old Rocco is an Italian immigrant who finds himself alone in New York City after he's sold to a padrone by his poverty-stricken parents. While working as a street musician, he meets the boys of the infamous Bandits' Roost, who teach him the art of pickpocketing. Rocco embraces his new life of crime-he's good at it, and it's more lucrative than banging a triangle on the street corner. But when he meets Meddlin' Mary, a strong-hearted Irish girl who's determined to help the horses of New York City, things begin to change. Rocco begins to reexamine his life-and take his future into his own hands.
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by Deborah Hopkinson
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"Narrator P.J. Ochlan embraces this spirited novel, documenting 11-year-old Rocco Zaccaro's adventures with such gusto and spunk that you'd swear you'd traveled back in time to 1887. The story begins with Rocco's removal from his home in Italy and his subsequent arrival in New York City, where he is to work as a street musician for his new padrone, Signor Ancarola. Ochlan paints a vivid picture of immigrant life and the trials Rocco undergoes trying to escape the horrible living conditions under his padrone. Capturing the characters' voices perfectly, Ochlan delivers Rocco's animated storytelling, the slang of his newfound gang of pickpockets, and the accents of the city's many immigrants, whether Irish, Scottish, German, English, or Italian. Historical notes, including a pickpocket's glossary, complete this excellent production. M.F.T. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine"
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