From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 3–6—Color and movement are vibrant components in this extraordinary book about Rosa Parks's efforts to take down Jim Crow. Text and illustration work in perfect sync. Andrea Pinkney chose the rhythm of the blues as cadence for the guitar-strumming hound-dog narrator: "This story begins with shoes./This story is all for true./This story walks. And walks. And walks./To the blues." In riveting poetic style, the author relates how Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, AL, on December 1, 1955; her defiance brought about the boycott that changed this nation. The evocative text is bolstered by Brian Pinkney's perceptive vision: he portrays a swirling black mass, colored ink on clay board, to simulate a menacing bird—Jim Crow—that "pecks, pecks, pecks" its determination to undermine the movement. Jim Crow hovers menacingly over the bus and whirls above the beleaguered walkers, but the ever-present dog keeps belting out inspiring words, swinging his tune out over the people. Against electric blues and greens diffused with streaks of black line, Pinkney's artwork rivets the eye with the red of Parks's coat, the yellow of the city bus, and the sunrise red that signals the Supreme Court ruling to end segregation. Children unfamiliar with the historic events of the period will find the tale uplifting and memorable, and for librarians, teachers, and parents, this story will read aloud well, mesmerizing listeners.—Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA
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*Starred Review* With glowing, dramatic double-page spreads and a clear rhythmic text, this large picture book tells the inspiring story of the Montgomery bus boycott. An adult who was there tells a child today how it was in language that has the beat of the blues—weary, sharp, and sweet. Dog tired, that’s me, says the narrator, who appears in most of the pictures as a dog strumming a guitar. Beginning with Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on the bus to a white man, the story moves on through history to Martin Luther King Jr.’s inspiring speech calling for a boycott and the many people who join the movement and refuse to ride the buses. This is one of the few Rosa Parks stories to show how long it took to defeat Jim Crow, how exhausting it was for the nonviolent protestors to walk through rain and steaming heat for more than a year, and how determined they were. Jim Crow becomes a metaphorical bird that struts and pecks, though the statement that Jim Crow flew in in 1955 may confuse readers: as the final note shows, segregation was established long before that date. The moving poetry and the art, with thick, swirling ink lines on bright washes in red, blue, purple, and green, express the dramatic confrontations and the inspiring history. Great for reading aloud, especially to the strumming of a guitar. Preschool-Grade 3. --Hazel Rochman