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BLACK MAGIC by Dinah Johnson


by Dinah Johnson and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8050-7833-6
Publisher: Henry Holt

“My hundred black braids make a spiderweb around my head, / and Mama’s voice is black and sweet as I fall asleep.” This emotionally rich sentence is representative of this winning celebration of blackness. Johnson successfully uses figurative language to describe basic concepts and more complex connections, such as using color to describe emotions. She effortlessly zigzags from the immensity of the sky to the comfortable warmth of a puppy. The illustrations are bright and vibrant and provide an excellent contrast to the actual color black, which appears throughout the book. Christie is most successful at depicting the many shades of black. He portrays the chocolatey black of the main character’s skin, the black notes on sheet music and everything in between. In portraying concepts, he expertly uses shades of black and accent colors to depict the mood or feeling. Adults will find this book a great conversation starter with little ones. (Picture book. 5-9)