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THE ALL JAHDU STORYBOOK by Virginia Hamilton


by Virginia Hamilton & illustrated by Barry Moser

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-15-239498-2
Publisher: Harcourt

In 1969, Hamilton published The Time-Ago Tales of Jahdu, four tales about a trickster boy-hero who expressed his sense of freedom by "running along" and whose favorite exclamation was "Woogily!" Like those in Time-Ago Lost (1973), they were set in a framing story about "Mama Luka" in "a fine, good place called Harlem," telling her stories to young Lee Edward. Now Hamilton drops the framing story, adds a central section ("Jahdu Adventure") with four new pieces (including one involving the giant Trouble as a robot and one in which Jahdu encounters several folkloric characters), and tightens and reshapes the whole. By eliminating the explicit celebration of pride in the black experience, she highlights the rich blend of creation myths, philosophies, and folklore that inspired these tales; they seem more universal here than they did in the earlier setting. But they are still not easy; like the later books in the Justice series, they can be hard to follow, their events imposed by symbols that seem arbitrarily intertwined. Still, the language is vigorous and masterfully honed, while the character of lively, powerful, self-defining Jahdu has appeal even though some of his adventures are less than compelling. Moser contributes the attractive design and 20 beautifully painted glimpses of the scenes and characters in Jahdu's world. (Fiction. 8-12)