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LIES by Zora Neale Hurston Kirkus Star


and Other Tall Tales

by Zora Neale Hurston & adapted by Christopher Myers & illustrated by Christopher Myers

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-06-000655-2
Publisher: HarperCollins

“Once I seen / a man so ugly, / they threw him / in Dog River / and they could skim ugly / for six months. / You think he was ugly? / I seen a man/ so ugly, / he can go behind / a jimson weed / and hatch / monkeys.” In the 1930s, Hurston gathered tall tales and inventive insults suitable for “playing the dozens” from the African-American community in the Gulf States. Here, Caldecott Honor–artist Christopher Myers adapts selections from her collection—funny, rhythmic, conversational and deliciously ungrammatical—to celebrate the essential art of storytelling. (He says he found them in a government office, “Which is where they are keeping all the lies nowadays / and that’s the truth.”) Crisp, graphically bold collages of scraps of fabric and paper in a saturated, mostly autumnal color palette sometimes literally, sometimes more imaginatively, interpret these colorful tall tales. Varied type styles, textures, sizes and arrangements reflect the chorus of voices echoed here, in the vibrant, ever-changing language the artist likes to hear on street corners, hair salons and “the right kind of eating establishments.” (Picture book. 6-10)