Cover image for Miss Viola and Uncle Ed Lee
Miss Viola and Uncle Ed Lee
Duncan, Alice Faye.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, [1999]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
A young boy helps his two neighbors, one as neat as a pin and the other as junky as a pack rat, become friends.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.0 0.5 34878.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Miss Viola lives in a little lavender house with bright white shutters and a white picket fence. Uncle Ed Lee lives in a little red house with hanging black shutters and a leaning mailbox. Miss Viola is neat as a pin. Uncle Ed Lee is junky as a pack rat. They are opposites, through and through. But Uncle Ed Lee wants to become friends with Miss Viola. Now, how can that be? Their young neighbor Bradley sees that friendship can take many forms one Saturday afternoon on Joubert Street.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-8. Bradley tells his rapt grade-school class how he helped bring about a romance between his two elderly neighbors. On his right lives Miss Viola, "as neat as a pin" in her straw hat and apron. On his left lives Uncle Ed Lee, "junky as a pack rat." Mr. Lee wants to make friends with Miss Viola ("just becos' folks are different, don't mean they can't be friends"), but she insists that he has to do something about his messy yard, so he picks up his trash and mows his grass; then she comes over for lemonade and a game of cards under the tree. Stock's watercolors show Bradley enjoying his role as messenger/observer. Uncle Ed's longing is clear as he watches Miss Viola sweep the porch, paint the fence, and trim the shrubs. The faces of the African American cast are not as fresh as in Stock's best work, but the warm three-cornered friendship takes place in a backyard setting that is filled with light and color. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this sweet-natured picture book, a boy plays go-between, bringing together his two older neighbors, "neat as a pin" Miss Viola and "junky as a pack rat" Uncle Ed Lee. Miss Viola's grass is always cut, her shrubs trimmed and her picket fence gleaming white; Uncle Ed Lee has a yard with tall grass (and bits of trash in it), a leaning mailbox and a rusty wire fence. When Uncle Ed Lee decides he'd like to be friends with his tidy neighbor, he enlists young Bradley to help him out. Soon Uncle Ed Lee spruces up his house, his yard‘and himself‘so that Miss Viola will honor him with a visit ("He picked up his trash.../ and mowed his grass.../ until he ran out of gas"). The "twinkle in her eye" and their meeting for a card game and lemonade suggest a friendship that may bloom into romance. Duncan's (Willie Jerome) feel-good text will have readers rooting for thoughtful Bradley in his efforts to unite the unlikely pair. Stock's (Gus and Grandpa) soft and wispy watercolors, set in a quiet African-American neighborhood, deliver all the good cheer the story demands. Ages 5-8. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2‘It's "Story Day" at Bradley's school, and he tells his class about how he helped two of his elderly neighbors become friends. Miss Viola is as "neat as a pin," while Uncle Ed Lee is as "junky as a pack rat." When the man tells Bradley that he would like to meet Miss Viola, the boy passes the message on, but the woman insists that her neighbor must "do something about that messy yard" before she will even consider a visit. Uncle Ed Lee cleans up his act and invites her and Bradley over for lemonade. Stock's realistic illustrations, rendered in soft watercolors, portray tenderness between these African-American characters despite their differences (right down to Uncle Ed Lee's dog and Miss Viola's cat). Told in Bradley's informal voice, the narrative makes the boy's friendship with his two neighbors believable and points out that opposites do attract. This upbeat tale will fill a multitude of requests (e.g., intergenerational stories and friendship) and makes a nice choice for reading aloud.‘Olga R. Barnes, Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.