JANUARY’S SPARROW by Patricia Polacco

JANUARY’S SPARROW

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 9 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

A voice in the prologue, in the dialect cadences of the slave narratives, introduces the stark opening image of a black man, roped and bloodied, dragged by two white men on horseback—the paddy rollers. Eight-year-old Sadie Crosswhite is forced to watch with her parents and siblings as their beloved friend, January Drumm, is whipped and carried off for burial, the price for trying to run away. Sadie and her family run away that night, stopping in Marshall, Mich., with its free black community. They tell no one that they are runaways, as harboring them is against the law. The slave catchers track the Crosswhites down some four years later, in 1847, and in a blazing scene the townspeople of Marshall, black and white, defy them, even as January himself appears, baring his horribly scarred back. Polacco’s passionately realized images use every tool in the artist’s arsenal: pictures structured like Expressionist etchings or Mannerist saints; echoes of Delacroix and Ryder, Rembrandt and Goya. Rooted in history (a comprehensive bibliography is promised online), this is a masterly narrative that horrifies, moves and informs. (Illustrated fiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-399-25077-4
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2009




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