A NET TO CATCH TIME by Sara Harrell Banks

A NET TO CATCH TIME

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A day in the life of young Cuffy, the son of a fisherman on a barrier island off Georgia, set to a Gullah ``calendar,'' which, Banks notes in an afterword, she found ``oddly beautiful.'' Before Cuffy's story starts, there is a glossary, followed by Cook's sweet watercolor rendition of the diurnal calendar, to be read clockwise, showing the lyrical Gullah names for the times of day: ``Sooner Mornin','' or just before dawn, ``First Fowl Crow,'' ``Day Clean,'' when dawn breaks, and on through ``Plat-Eye Prowl,'' when nocturnal animals awaken, and ``Hag-Hollerin' Time,'' after midnight. These terms are then incorporated into the story of Cuffy's day, which includes the crowing of his Dahomey's (grandmother's) ``frizzled ol' bird'' and proceeds through breakfast with his infant sister Bina, his gathering of crabs, and Dahomey's turning them into deviled crabs that Cuffy sells to visitors off the ferry. The boy plans to use the money he takes in--and there is never any doubt that he'll take money in--to buy a boat in order to become a fisherman like his father, Prince. So much is left unsaid that this idyll has at least one unsettling element: There is no mention of Cuffy's mother, whose absence, judging by Bina's age, must be fairly new. The names for the times of day are inherently fascinating, as are the many details of Gullah life and lore, but they lose much of their power and intrigue when shoehorned into this story. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-679-86673-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1996




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