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The Ballad of Belle Dorcas Paperback – December 12, 1995


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Product Details

  • Lexile Measure: 650L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Dragonfly Books; Dragonfly Books ed edition (December 12, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679878092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679878094
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,691,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Romance and the supernatural combine in this African American conjure tale about a free-issue woman who uses a spell to free her slave husband. Ages 5-9.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

A conjure tale from the Carolina coast. Belle Dorcas is "free issue"; that is, born of an African-American mother and a white father during the slavery period and free since birth. When it comes time to marry, she chooses no one but Joshua, the best fiddle player in the county--and a slave. She lives, as a free person, in the slave quarters with Joshua, but the plans of a new owner of the plantation to sell her husband inspire the first of several visits by Belle to Granny Lizard, the local "cunger" (conjure) woman. After asking Belle if she can bear to lose Joshua to keep him, she turns him into a giant cedar, explaining that he and Belle can be together as man and woman by night. Belle survives even the cutting of the wood of the "Joshua tree" for a smokehouse, always finding a way to be with Joshua at night. Upon her natural death, the smokehouse vanishes, replaced by two young cedars. Hook's retelling is smooth and powerful, limning the events of the plot with incisively concrete language. Pinkney's illustrations are the best element here, though; the scenes are skillfully rendered in a scratchboard style that evokes time and place while giving vivid life to characters and incident. Swirling scratched lines swoop through the images, bringing an aspect of eerie movement throughout. An entertaining ghost story with a satisfying conclusion and a memorable interpretation. --Christine Behrmann, New York Public Library
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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I am a storyteller. When I first her this story told, the desire was to have this powerful tale in my own repertoire
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