SEVEN SPOOLS OF THREAD by Angela Shelf Medearis
Kirkus Star


A Kwanzaa Story
Age Range: 6 - 10
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Any family with seven sons must hear plenty of bickering, but the seven Ashanti brothers in this family quarrel from dawn to dusk and into the night. Their father leaves them a legacy in more than material terms, with the requirement that they must spin seven spools of thread (each in a different shade) into gold in only one day—with no arguing. Medearis has crafted an original story with the timeless tone of a traditional folktale, subtly incorporating the seven principles of Kwanzaa into her plot. The brothers learn to cooperate in both words and deeds, weaving their seven colors of silken thread into multicolored cloth so beautiful it is purchased for the king (with a bag of gold, of course). Demonstrating the Kwanzaa principle of cooperative economics, the brothers teach their whole village to weave the patterned fabric known as kente cloth. Minter’s striking linoleum block-print illustrations complement the story perfectly, with the seven decidedly different brothers shown in silhouette against jewel-bright backgrounds full of intriguing details of African village life. The history and seven principles of Kwanzaa are clearly explained in the introduction; directions for making a simple loom from straws and weaving a cloth belt are included in an appendix. This added information as well as the satisfying story will make this beautifully designed book a valuable selection for elementary-school teachers and librarians. A fine choice for a Kwanzaa gift, and a first choice for most school and public-library collections. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-8075-7315-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Whitman
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2000


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