BIRD IN A BOX by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Kirkus Star

BIRD IN A BOX

Age Range: 9 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

It’s the era of Joe Louis at Yankee Stadium, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington at the Savoy and Philco radios in living rooms across the country, hope and dreams afloat on the airwaves. Told in the alternating voices of 12-year-olds Hibernia, Otis and Willie, and covering the period between Louis’ 1936 loss to Max Schmeling and his 1937 title fight with James Braddock, the artfully orchestrated novel is related with grace, restraint and a wealth of historical detail. This last is carefully woven into the fabric of the story and rarely calls attention to itself. Even before they meet later in the story, the young trio is linked by their radios, bringing them Gang BustersThe Lone RangerFibber McGee and Molly, Jack Benny, the Chick Webb Orchestra from the Savoy Ballroom and, most importantly, Joe Louis, the Brown Bomber, whom they understand is “fighting for the pride of Negroes.” The three protagonists come together in the final scene, in which Louis fights Braddock for the heavyweight championship of the world. Perfect pacing and italicized radio commentary drawn from Pinkney’s research provide a tense and rousing closing, in which the dreams that Louis represented do come true, and three new friends find that “faith is here like a long-gone friend.” (Historical fiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: April 12th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-316-07403-2
Page count: 248pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2011




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