MISSISSIPPI BRIDGE

Readers familiar with the several other stories in which the Logans appear know that a visit to the Wallace general store will lead to painful incidents of racial injustice. This time, it's back to 1931, with Stacey Logan's contemporary and sometime friend Jeremy Simms, who is white, narrating. The once-a-week bus is coming; as the would-be riders wait at the store, Taylor contrasts their treatment (only a white may try on a hat before buying it; a black man who allows that he has a new job is cruelly forced to lie and contradict himself). The bus is full; the blacks (including the Logans' Grandmama, going to care for a sick relative) are put off to make room for whites on less urgent errands. Then the decrepit local bridge chooses this day to give way, under the bus—not exactly divine retribution, since the characters who drown are the more innocent white people, but a satisfying irony nonetheless. Taylor, a powerful storyteller, again combines authentic incidents to create a taut plot. Jeremy's narrative, in dialect, is believable, though he gives no hint why only he, in his otherwise abusive, unredeemed family, has compassion for the blacks' situation. Taylor's cry for justice always rings true; but it would be even more potent if the other side were shown in fuller dimension.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1990

ISBN: 0-8037-0426-7

Page Count: 62

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1990

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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