THE HIRED HAND by Robert D. San Souci


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Age Range: 5 - 9
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An African-American folktale from Southern oral tradition, first recorded in the late 19th century. Down Virginia way, Young Sam, the lazy, no-account son of a sawmill owner, has his life turned upside-down when a hired hand shows up asking for work. Young Sam spies on New Hand, and discovers that the man has the power to rejuvenate an old farmer with sawdust, water, and a drop of blood accompanied by magical incantations. Young Sam exploits his knew knowledge and accidentally kills the woman he's trying to make young, landing himself in court. What begins as a gripping, well-told tale starts to sound like a morality play, as Young Sam repents his lazy ways. Born as it is of pure desperation, his conversion (for readers) strains credibility. But New Hand believes Young Sam and bails him out by presenting to the court the woman who was supposed to have been dead. Inspired by a small Virginia anti-slavery town for its setting and drawing from 18th-century costume with the influence of European fairy-tale art, Pinkney works his magic by blending both character and drama with the hushed tones of history. (Picture book/folklore. 5-9)
Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-8037-1296-0
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Dial
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1997


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