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UNCLE JED'S BARBER SHOP by Margaree King Mitchell


by Margaree King Mitchell & illustrated by James E. Ransome

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 1993
ISBN: 0-671-76969-3
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

 Great-uncle Jed, Sarah Jean's ``favorite relative,'' travels from house to house as ``the only black barber in the county.'' When he comes to cut her daddy's hair, he explains that he's saving for a shop. But folks are poor and Jed is generous; his money saves Sarah Jean's life (in a segregated hospital where ``the doctors wouldn't do the operation until they had the money''); later, he loses everything in a Depression bank failure. But on his 79th birthday, when Sarah Jean is grown up, he opens his own shop to such a crowd of well-wishers that ``he cut hair all night...That man was so glad to have that shop, he didn't need any sleep.'' Soon after, he dies happy, having shown Sarah Jean how to dream, too. Ransome's realistic, powerfully constructed paintings depict the characters as self-reliant and unbowed, their warm good feeling flowing from one to another. A fine, unusually engaging debut for Mitchell, celebrating the courage and humanity of men who could survive hard times and injustice without rancor. (Picture book. 4-8)