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Carol of the Brown King: Nativity Poems Hardcover – October 1, 1998

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Editorial Reviews Review

Award-winning illustrator Ashley Bryan noticed that Langston Hughes had written five short children's poems about Christmas--and had translated a sixth "from a Puerto Rican Christmas card." Here Bryan collects and illustrates all six in a beautiful book that will bring out the meaning of the season for African American and other children alike. Bryan has a superb--and characteristically African--color sense, using a saturated palette of ochre, chocolate, russet, and yellow-orange, with a counterpoint of bright blues and greens. The pictures of parents, children, and kneeling Magi are an appropriately vivid, joyful evocation of Hughes's simple cadences: "Three Wise Men / One dark like me / Part of His / Nativity." "They did not travel in an airplane / They did not travel by car / They did not travel on a streamline train / They traveled on foot from afar / They traveled on foot from afar." (Ages 3 to 7) --Richard Farr

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3?In this lovely book, Bryan has illustrated Langston Hughes's "Carol of the Brown King," "Shepherd's Song at Christmas," "On a Christmas Night," "On a Pallet of Straw," and "The Christmas Story"?plus a translation of a verse from a Puerto Rican Christmas card. The poems are simple and direct, celebrating the first Christmas and the place it holds in lives and hearts today. "Carol of the Brown King" ends with the words, "Three Wise Men,/ One dark like me?/Part of His/Nativity." The paintings, rendered in tempera and gouache, are luminous and bright, and add tremendous appeal to the poems. They also extend the intent of the verses to portray Christmas as having meaning for all people, no matter what their race; the Holy Family is depicted as black, as is a young shepherd who comes to offer gifts to Baby Jesus. In one particularly moving painting, the Baby is sleeping on his mother's back, wrapped in a shawl, while Mary looks over her shoulder at readers, cowrie shells in her braided hair. Even very young children will enjoy the short poems and colorful illustrations, and beginning readers will have no problem reading the selections themselves. A gift to enhance any Christmas collection.?EM
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689818777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689818776
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,062,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 12, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book not only captures the beauty of Langston Hughes for young readers but also portrays the beauty of African Heritage within the powerful meaning of the story of Christ's birth. I ended up buying two copies on my first round because it was such a wonderful piece of work for both chidren and adults!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Smith VINE VOICE on August 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book features poetry of Hughes for children. The poetry carefully uses language geared for children, uses repetition more than images. This results in text that conveys to children as much the careful, artful use of language as "fine poetry". The illustrations by Bryan are a superb counterpoint to the text - again geared intentional towards children - but showing excellent use of color and a realism appealing to adults.
This book succeeds in being truly for children without being sacchrine or insulting. Don't think of this as an "ethnic" book, it is far too good to be marginalized.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Breathtakingly beautiful book - wonderful addition to grandchildren's holiday collection. Arrived promptly and in great shape. Would highly recommend.
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