THE PASTEBOARD BANDIT by Arna Bontemps

THE PASTEBOARD BANDIT

Age Range: 12 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Sandwiched between an introduction by Bontemps's son and a biographical and analytical afterword is a never-before-published story, innovative for its time, written in 1935 by two icons in the history of African-American literature. The story, which has not aged well, will find its most appreciative audience in readers familiar with the authors' other works. As Hughes's hand-painted pasteboard bandit, Tito (six inches high, with a ``furious little rabbit beard'' and raised fist), looks on with interest, Juanito introduces Kenny, the son of vacationing New York artists, to his small Mexican town, the surrounding hills, and Christmas and Easter festivities. The plot is loosely constructed--Juanito takes an entire chapter to nod off after a Christmas Eve posada--and, despite the authors' efforts to depict an international friendship among equals there is still some overt cultural relativism: After several local children fail to break the pi§ata, Kenny succeeds, then drowsily remarks on the way home, ``A pi§ata's almost as good as a Christmas tree.'' In a dozen full-color, full-page paintings, Turley uses a vibrant palette and stylized figures reminiscent of some Mexican folk art, creating lush scenes of flowers and toys. Consider this a long-lost literary relic, available at last, more for study than pleasure. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1997
ISBN: 0-19-511476-0
Page count: 93pp
Publisher: Oxford Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1997




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