I AM A JESSE WHITE TUMBLER by Diane Schmidt

I AM A JESSE WHITE TUMBLER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

From the photographer of Rabe's Where's Chimpy?, a look at the well-known acrobats from Chicago's Cabrini-Green housing projects. Likable, athletic Kenyon Conner is the narrator of this brief overview of the Jesse White Tumblers, 75 kids (most of them boys) who defy the laws of gravity and the upright posture of bipeds, flying over each other the way Evel Knievel flew over cars. Founded in 1959 by Jesse White, now an Illinois State Representative, the group has traveled internationally and is so popular that more than 3600 children and teens are waiting for one of the 550 places on training sites. With strict roles (no drugs, drinking, crime or gang involvement allowed) and a program rooted in trust and teamwork, White has created a crackerjack group of acrobats who believe that their achievements will continue even after their tumbling years are over. Endorsements for MacDonald's and Coca-Cola (on the team's uniforms and mats) appear on almost every page, but Schmidt captures the group's spirit of cooperation and enthusiasm; only a video could show off the stunts more advantageously. Quietly inspiring, the team's achievements are best reflected in the appreciative faces and bewildered looks of the watchful audience.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1990
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Whitman