In spare verse that echoes the percussive sound of rap music, the story of a boy and a gun. The narrator (of middle-school...

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In spare verse that echoes the percussive sound of rap music, the story of a boy and a gun. The narrator (of middle-school age or older) admits that at his school, ""You're a fool if you can't get your hand on a gun,"" and tells a familiar story of a bully, the need to feel in command in an out-of-control environment where there is little parental support. Attempting to threaten his tormentor with his father's gun, the narrator is thwarted by his friend, and both are wounded--a ghastly path to absorbing and rejecting the horror of violence. Diaz's digitally manipulated watercolor-and-acrylic paintings resemble, alternately, stained glass and African sculpture in their monumentality and broad planes of color. Both text and images capture the tension and fear of an urban schoolyard menaced by guns; the implied acceptance of the ease of obtaining a firearm is utterly chilling. While a picture book in format, this could be used very effectively with older children.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996