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WORKING COTTON by Sherley Anne Williams


by Sherley Anne Williams & illustrated by Carole Byard

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-15-299624-9
Publisher: Harcourt

``We gets to the fields early, before it's even light. Sometimes I still be asleep.'' In grave cadences, young Shelan describes a day of picking with her migrant family. In one of Byard's powerful, impressionistic acrylics (repeated on the jacket), Shelan stares penetratingly at readers as she slumps wearily amid piles of cotton; otherwise, the figures here are stooped, shadowy, tragically impersonal images with lowered eyes. The artist and poet (the text is reworked from two of Williams's Peacock Poems, 1975) effectively capture a strong sense of family, of exhaustion at day's end, and, most poignantly, Shelan's isolation—children she meets in one field are generally gone by the next, and there seems to be no life for her or her family beyond their work. A brief, deeply felt portrait. (Picture book. 6-8)