GOOD, SAYS JEROME by Lucille Clifton


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I don't want to move. . . What's black? . . . She (the new teacher)'ll hate me. . . Are we lost? . . . I saw a monster. . . Who dies? . . . Are girls smarter than boys?"" Attempting to still the fears expressed in all these questions in short, illustrated rhymes is quite an undertaking, but Clifton at least manages a temporary deflection of anxiety with the warm, simple exchanges that constitute her text -- for example: ""What's black?//Oh Jerome,/ says Janice Marie,/ black is a color/ like yellow or white./ It's got nothing to do/ with wrong or fight./ It's a feeling inside/ about who we are and/ how strong and how free.// Good/ says Jerome/ that feels like me."" Each of the conversations between Jerome and his sister Janice Marie follow the same pattern and end with the satisfying ""Good/ says Jerome/ I'm glad they do"" (or whatever the last line). Stephanie Douglas' single and double-page illustrations, consisting of bold, flat, black outlined slabs of color combined with ornate, ornamental collage, are striking in themselves, but we hope that her future work will be more easily distinguishable from Steptoe's.

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 1973
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Dutton