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BLACK IS BROWN IS TAN by Arnold Adoff

BLACK IS BROWN IS TAN

By Arnold Adoff (Author) , Emily Arnold McCully (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: April 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-06-028776-4
Publisher: HarperCollins

The author and illustrator of this groundbreaking 1973 portrait of an interracial family (Adoff and his wife, the late Virginia Hamilton, were the models) reunite for this updated overhaul. “Black is brown is tan / is girl is boy / is nose is / face / is all / the / colors / of the race . . .” Two children reflect on brown and white as they cover a daily domestic round, from jumping into the parental bed in the morning to “singing songs / in / singing night” on a moonlit porch, conveying in each verse a consciousness of color, but a far stronger sense of family closeness. The illustrations follow suit, showing the children with parents, grandparents, and relatives, working, playing, being together. And just as Adoff has reshaped the lines without changing the words, so McCully has plainly worked from her originals in placing and posing her figures, though the pictures are redone in a larger size, the family lives in a different house with modern details, and the father is now blond. As the number of interracial families goes up but their representation in picture books remains vanishingly slight, this fresh rendition still makes a cogent statement. (Picture book/poetry. 4-7)