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BROTHERS OF THE KNIGHT by Debbie Allen

BROTHERS OF THE KNIGHT

By Debbie Allen

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-8037-2488-8
Publisher: Dial

Spun from a live performance at the Kennedy Center, this urban version of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” is a strong picture-book debut for both Allen and Nelson. Reverend Knight, a Harlem minister, can’t understand why his twelve sons’ hightops are “worn to threads, messed up, torn up, stinky, dirty, tacky, jacked up” each and every morning. Promising to get to the bottom of it all, winsome Sunday, latest in a long line of housekeepers, whips out a cloak of invisibility and follows the boys night after night to the Big Band Ballroom. When she confronts them, they confess: they love to dance, but fear their father’s disapproval. Posed in theatrical arrangements and postures, Nelson’s exuberant figures fill his stage-like scenes. In the end, the boys tell all, the reverend admits that he too used to cut the rug, and the stage is set for a swinging finale. This is a high-flying alternative to the tale’s usual dainty renditions. (Picture book/folklore. 6-8)