THE STORY OF LITTLE BLACK SAMBO by Helen Bannerman
Kirkus Star

THE STORY OF LITTLE BLACK SAMBO

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 7

KIRKUS REVIEW

The most controversial children’s picture book in history is richly resurrected with truly sumptuous illustrations in a gorgeous oversized format. Bing retains Bannerman’s original text and names, but replaces the stereotypical characteristics with a handsome, tawny-skinned Sambo, and dresses Black Mumbo in a sari and Black Jumbo in a turban. In a note on the front endpapers, Bing relates how he worked for 20 years to illustrate his favorite childhood story. Amid the beautiful, etched-line textures, sun-kissed colors, and lush greenery, the magnificent tigers not only steal Sambo’s clothes but also steal the visual show. Fascinating focal points create dramatic perspectives (a tiger viewed between Sambo’s knees) and cinematic close-ups. The bordered spreads appear as if on parchment and end-page collages intriguingly display old postcards, maps, and items of the times. A lengthy note by the publisher on the story’s history and publication provides important context. Exceptional in every detail: a classic story respectfully revitalized to a new grandeur—one it deserves. Simply superb. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-929766-55-6
Page count: 40pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2003




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