WHEN BIRDS COULD TALK AND BATS COULD SING by Virginia Hamilton
Kirkus Star

WHEN BIRDS COULD TALK AND BATS COULD SING

The Adventures of Bruh Sparrow, Sis Wren, and Their Friends
adapted by , illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 10

KIRKUS REVIEW

Joel Chandler Harris wasn't the only collector of African-American trickster tales; here are eight fables gathered (and some, perhaps, written) by Martha Young, his contemporary. Most of the lessons are pointed: Boasting that she can touch the sky, Brown Wren flies too high and has to be saved by larger birds; the "Still and Ugly Bat" was once beautiful but became so proud that she threw away her feathers and songs; Bruh Buzzard doesn't wait quite long enough for Fair Maid the horse to die. and gets a lick in the head that leaves him bald ever after. In several stories, birds help human or animal friends; when young Alcee Lingo gets the chills, Blue Jay and Swallow steal fire from old Firekeeper, and Cardinal gets his brilliant color by wiping blood from a hunter's near-miss off Bruh Deer. Hamilton (Her Stories, 1995, etc.) recasts the thick dialect of the originals into fluent, musical prose that demands to be read aloud, and to which Moser's exact, energetic paintings of brightly colored birds--all sporting bonnets or top hats and very human expressions--make perfect accompaniment. First published in local newspapers and not available in book form since the 1970s, these wry, comic, tender tales should at last find the wide audience they deserve. (Folklore. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-590-47372-7
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1996




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