Kirkus Reviews QR Code


A Black Tall Tale

adapted by Jan Wahl & illustrated by Sterling Brown

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-525-67499-3
Publisher: Dutton

 Wahl (I Met a Dinosaur, p. 1396, etc.) retells a weird but funny story told, he says, by an old black man on a porch in West Virginia. Sam Bombel waves goodbye to his wife as she stands on their porch and goes ``to shoot his dinner'' out in the corn field. He hears a flock of geese overhead, singing their geese song, and he shoots one down and carries it home. His wife plucks it and puts it in a pot in the oven, but it makes strange cackling sounds. When it is done, the pot comes out, the goose sings the goose song again, and the whole flock appears, each with a goosefeather, to stick back in the bird, which then flies off. ``And Sam Bombel never went hunting again.'' The rich oil paintings with their bright, sturdy colors and figures show a plain wood cabin, Sam in his overalls, and his wife with an apron over her dress; both have warm, expressive faces that show their comic reactions to some very odd events. The goose never looks cooked, or dead for that matter, with its head and neck rising above the pot of tomatoes and carrots; that suits this slightly surreal tale just fine. (Picture book. 5-9)