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BEAUTY, HER BASKET by Sandra Belton Kirkus Star


by Sandra Belton & illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-688-17821-9
Publisher: Greenwillow

Cabrera displays rare sensitivity to color and light in this children’s debut, illustrating Belton’s account of a child’s visit to Sea Island relatives with scenes of dark-skinned, brightly dressed figures against impressionistic swirls of sand, sun, and images from the past. Delighted by the gracefully woven sea grass basket in which her Nana gathers flowers, the young narrator starts a basket of her own, then learns how her ancestors “made to slave” carried the skills to create such distinctive everyday objects from Africa. Nana tells her tale in Gullah cadences—“Look here. The sun almost de red for down! Time for me to tie my mouth and us to get home”—as evocative as the art. It’s not hard to find tales in which children, encircled by a loving family, explore links between their past and present, but this is a particularly moving variation on the theme. (Picture book. 7-9)