TAR BEACH

A Harlem-born artist expands on one of her distinctive "quilt paintings" to create a marvelously evocative book that draws on her own imaginative life as a child. As explained in a concluding note, Ringgold's "Woman on a Bridge" series, including Tar Beach (reproduction included), is now in the Guggenheim. Combining the traditional association between flying and the escape of slaves to freedom with her own fantasies as a child who delighted in the sense of liberation and empowerment she felt on a rooftop from which she saw stars twinkling among the lights of nearby George Washington Bridge, Ringgold has fashioned a poignant fictional story about eight-year-old Cassie, who dreams that she can claim the bridge (and freedom and wealth) by soaring above the city; she can even own the Union Building that her skillful father helped to build—though he is often out of work because he is denied membership in the union. The triumphant soaring of imagination over reality is beautifully expressed in Ringgold's bold, vibrant paintings, newly rendered to tell this story, and with details from the quilt's glowing patchwork as a delightful continue along the bottom of each page. Beautiful, innovative, and full of the joy of one unconquerable soul.

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 1991

ISBN: 0-517-58030-6

Page Count: -

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1990

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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