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Black and White Paperback – October 24, 2005


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (October 24, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618636870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618636877
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 7.6 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Black and White is an interesting title for a book that aims to prove there's no such thing as black and white. But read on and you will see that irony and playful deception are running themes in this multidimensional, nonlinear picture story, which was awarded the 1991 Caldecott Medal. In it, a normal-looking cow contains a robber literally pointing at one of the plot's various possible outcomes, which remain tentative as long as they are formulated by young readers. Seeing new angles and clues every time they open the book, these readers will probably astound adult onlookers with their excitement and ease at navigating the unknown in a literary medium akin to interactive multimedia. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

At first glance, this is a collection of four unrelated stories, each occupying a quarter of every two-page spread, and each a slight enough tale to seem barely worth a book--a boy on a train, parents in a funny mood, a convict's escape and a late commuter train. The magic of Black and White comes not from each story, however, but from the mysterious interactions between them that creates a fifth story. Several motifs linking the tales are immediately apparent, such as trains--real and toy--and newspapers. A second or third reading reveals suggestions of the title theme: Holstein cows, prison uniform stripes. Eventually, the stories begin to merge into a surrealistic tale spanning several levels of reality, e.g.: Are characters in one story traveling on the toy train in another? Answers are never provided--this is not a mystery or puzzle book. Instead, Black and White challenges the reader to use text and pictures in unexpected ways. Although the novelty will wear off quickly for adults, no other writer for adults or children explores this unusual territory the way Macaulay does. All ages.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

David Macaulay is an award-winning author and illustrator whose books have sold millions of copies in the United States alone, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages. Macaulay has garnered numerous awards including the Caldecott Medal and Honor Awards, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Christopher Award, an American Institute of Architects Medal, and the Washington Post-Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award. In 2006, he was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, given "to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations." Superb design, magnificent illustrations, and clearly presented information distinguish all of his books. David Macaulay lives with his family in Vermont.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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The book is composed of four stories all with different illustration styles.
Between the Lines
As such, you will welcome this over all of the books where you read the same story in the same way, over ... and ... over ... and ... over ... again.
Donald Mitchell
Kids will enjoy this book because each time you read the stories, a different meaning occurs.
D. M ZWIRN

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book clearly deserves more than five stars for its brilliant plot, fascinating design, terrific illustrations, and thought-provoking premise. This book will stretch the imagination and thinking of anyone who sees it, no matter of what age or intellect. And the process of doing the thinking will be enormous good fun.
The book starts with a warning. "This book appears to contain a number of stories that do not necessarily occur at the same time." Then you get hints. It might contain more than one story, or it might be four stories, or then again, four parts of one story. "Careful inspection of both words and pictures is recommended." You will be a story detective, not unlike someone trying to solve a crime after the fact.
Each page is divided into four stories, each of which generally takes up one-fourth of the page. They are located in the same position relative to one another so you can keep the story thread you are following straight. Each has a title.
"Seeing Things" is about a boy taking his first train trip alone. After a long, mysterious delay, he arrives at a large station to be greeted by his parents. His mother sympathizes with his difficult journey.
"Problem Parents" relates how perfectly normal, hard-working parents return from commuting to work one night wearing costumes made out of newspapers. Soon, they have their children costumed this way too.
"A Waiting Game" shows a crowd of adults waiting for the commuter train on an outdoor platform. Pretty soon they get bored, and the fun begins.
"Udder Chaos" starts with a cow licking a man in a convict suit, and shows how cattle provide camouflage for themselves and everything around them.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on December 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book. Not knowing what to expect, my husband and I read each of the four stories individually. After finishing one we'd start over and begin with another. Macauley should be lauded for the different modes of art he employs, if nothing else. The watercolor illustrations of a boy on a train differ nicely from the pen and ink drawings of the two kids and their crazy parents. Most enjoyable, perhaps, is the series of train station commuters, waiting for the train and slowly going mad. Kids will enjoy following the escaped criminal (complete with black mask and black & white striped shirt) as he runs from story to story throughout the book. This would not read especially well to a large group of children, seeing as how the pictures are particularly small and difficult to follow from a distance. Also some of these stories lack words altogether. But individual children will enjoy finding new and different details in each of the four tales. Altogether, a fascinating book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Barnett on September 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This was one of the most interesting books I have ever read. When I first read this book, I did not really get the structure of this book and found myself very confused. I went back and looked at the book again and realized that this book was laid out just like our lives are. In our everyday lives everything is truly not black & white (one way or another), we have alot of gray area. This book has four stories going on at once, kind of like real life. This book would be more for an advanced reader.

The interesting thing is that all of the stories are directly related to one of the stories. It really shows the different sides of a situation. Sometimes we may not see all sides of a story, but this book shows us just how one event can effect many more. I would recommend this book to anyone that really wants a reading challenge. The content is very neat and the illustrations are very good also.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I gave "Black and White" to my boyfriend in lieu of the usual mushy Valentine's Day gift. I am known for my unusual children's books, among them "Baaa," also by David Macaulay. This book was equally non-disappointing. Consisting of four stories somehow rolled into one, I find something new each time I read it, and find discussing theories on this book with my friends to be a most interesting pastime. My boyfriend, to whom I gave this book on Valentine's Day, has a kindergarten teacher mother who found David Macaulay's "Black and White" to be fascinating, entertaining, and a challenge for the elementary age students she encounters each day, as well as a challenge to herself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. M ZWIRN on March 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is a great book for kids to read by themselves. It's a series of seemingly four separate, odd stories (two stories on each page). One story is about a boy on a train, the other about kids and their parents' routine, the third is about passengers waiting for a train, and the fourth is about Holstein cows. They're all very odd stories; the parents come home wearing newspaper, Holstein cows are difficult to see, and there are pieces of newspaper flying in the air like snow.
Kids will enjoy this book because each time you read the stories, a different meaning occurs. The writing is creative and arranged imaginatively according to the words. There are some larger vocabulary words that may need to be looked up, such as avalanche, embankment, and udder. Because of the four stories and strange situations, this book would probably be more appropriate for more advanced readers in 2nd and 3rd grade. I even had to read it four times to figure out the stories and how they're related.
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