Angie learns to take pride in her African appearance and heritage. Though ten-year-old Angle has always been shy and has been made to feel ashamed of her dark skin and African features, she knows that she can dance and has her secret dreams. Elderly Cousin Seatta, visiting New York, knows that Angle is gifted and encourages her to let herself "shimmershine"—take glory in learning and strength in the history of her people. Soon after, a new drama-and-dance teacher arrives; and through Angle's determination not to be intimidated by the tough kids in her class and through the teacher's ability to interest them in dramatizing a black American folk tale, the whole class is enriched. Much in Angle's situation rings sadly true: her father has left the family but is in communication with them; her mother is depressed and relies heavily on Angle for childcare. But some threads are not gathered up (e.g., what became of the boys with bats who chased members of the cast on the day of the performance?), and Yarbrough often relies on stock phrases to express moods—every time characters are angry, they "space out" their words. Still, the messages here are worth repeating, and the plot moves well.
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