Kirkus Reviews QR Code
CLIMBING JACOB'S LADDER by John Langstaff

CLIMBING JACOB'S LADDER

Heroes of the Bible in African-American Spirituals

By John Langstaff (Editor) , Ashley Bryan (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 4th, 1991
ISBN: 0-689-50494-2
Publisher: McElderry

In the same sunny, luminous colors he used for All Night, All Day (p. 534), Bryan presents nine more spirituals, linking them with figures from Noah ("Didn't It Rain?") to Jonah ("Wake Up! Jonah"). Brief commentaries superimposed on the paintings that face each spiritual set them in context and in the biblical genealogy ("Jacob was one of Abraham's grandsons"). Ornamental borders further diminish the space allotted to the illustrations, resulting in a somewhat cluttered effect. These double spreads don't have the handsome sweep of those in the earlier book, but they are decorative and the paintings are lovely in detail: intimate, tender moments like David singing to Saul, or Daniel's appealingly pensive lions. Another fine tribute to the African-American heritage. Piano arrangements by John Andrew Ross; notes for musicians. (Nonfiction. 4+)