THE STRANGE STORY OF OLIVER JONES by Jack Korshak

THE STRANGE STORY OF OLIVER JONES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The strangest thing about this book is that it calls vividly to mind the reformist element so strong in children's books during the 19th century. Oliver Jones goes to bed white and perfect and rather smug only to arise black and shaken to discover that his exterior may have changed but he is still the same vulnerable person inside. He turns white when he discovers that it's the heart (shown inside a trapdoor in his chest by the illustrators) of a person that counts. Just in case any child reader is so doltish as to have missed the message, the last verse goes: ""So don't ever judge anyone till you have tried/ To see what he's like/ Away down inside--/ And try to be fair,/ So that others may do/ The very same thing/ When they're looking at YOU!"" Undoubtedly written, illustrated and published with the best possible intentions, this is, nevertheless, more of a sermon than a subtle persuasion, too much of a blatant lesson rather than an entertainment. One child unselfconsciously sharing it with another in amusement is beyond imagination. It's for well meaning teachers--school and Sunday School. The heavily integrated illustrations are unsophisticated. Altogether, it is enough to make any Negro child squirm with embarrassment and a chore for white age mates.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1966
Publisher: Children's Press