Books by Melodye Benson Rosales

A STRAWBEATER'S THANKSGIVING by Irene Smalls
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

Expressive, beautifully colored realistic paintings depict the indomitable spirit of slaves after harvest when it was corn- shucking time. Smalls (Because You're Lucky, 1992, etc.) evokes a night of celebration and the dreams of a seven-year-old boy, Jess, who fights a larger boy, Nathaniel, for the honor of being the strawbeater—helping the fiddler by beating on the instrument with straw during the dancing. A sleepy Jess is carried home by his mother at the end of the evening, her "manchild" who has the will and determination to survive anything—perhaps even slavery. Smalls conveys the festivities without idealizing them—there are patrollers accompanying the slaves to an event that, for all the dancing and eating, is work. (Picture book. 7-10) Read full book review >