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TAR BEACH by Faith Ringgold Kirkus Star


by Faith Ringgold

Pub Date: Feb. 10th, 1991
ISBN: 0-517-58030-6
Publisher: Crown

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.