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In the Time of the Drums (Jump at the Sun) Hardcover – March 16, 1999


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 570L (What's this?)
  • Series: Jump at the Sun
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Jump At The Sun; 1st edition (March 16, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078680436X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786804368
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 8.9 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #939,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Siegelsons (The Terrible, Wonderful Tellin at Hog Hammock) lyrical retelling of a Gullah legend seems to pulse in time to the goatskin drums of the Sea Islands, the setting for this haunting tale. Young Mentu lives with his African-born grandmother Twi, an Ibo conjure woman. Though Mentu exhibits a strength beyond his years, Twi cautions him to save his energy: Soon it will be your time to be strong-strong, she says. As the two watch the workers in the fields, Twi tells her grandson how slavery has broken them.... The old ways had slowly slipped away and been left behind like sweat drops in a newly plowed row. One day, a ship arrives, its cargo an entire village of Ibo people; from the hold of the ship, they hear the sound of Twi beating her goatskin drums, and think they have returned home. When they see the foreign shores, however, the Ibos sing words familiar to Twi: Say the water brought em cross the passage and it can take em back, fe true, she translates for Mentu. Working her magic, Twi leads the Ibo people into the water, where, legend has it, they walked all the way back to Africa on the bottom of the ocean. Siegelson subtly lays the groundwork for Twis double meaning, as the grandmother builds a sense of history (it takes a mighty strength not to forget). The parting scene shows Mentu teaching his daughter the songs that Twi taught him. Pinkneys (The Faithful Friend) finely etched art dramatically captures the storys simultaneous sadness and hope, contrasting such images as the ships shadowy hold with a narrow opening of sun-filled sky where Twis drumbeats fill the air, and Twi leading the Ibo people into a swirling, yet smooth sea filled with a spectrum of sherbet-colored hues as their chains melt away. At once magical yet chillingly real, this is a thought-provoking and memorable work. Ages 6-9.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-5-A Gullah story brought into beautiful focus by Pinkney's trademark scratchboard-on-oil drawings. Mentu and his grandmother, Twi, are plantation slaves who live on an island off the coast of Georgia. Twi knows some "powerful root magic" and still yearns for her African home. She remembers the stories and the rhythms of the drums, and shares them with Mentu. One day, a ship bearing new slaves arrives in Teakettle Creek, and the island people beat "ancient rhythms" on their drums announcing the ship's arrival. At first the Ibos think they are back in Africa; when they realize they are not, they refuse to leave the ship. Suddenly, Twi hangs her charm bag on Mentu's neck and begins to run toward the water. Magically, the years slip off her as she beckons to the newcomers. Together, they break away from the slave catchers and disappear under the water. Mentu believes that they are walking home to freedom. This well-told story is unusual and powerful. It raises some interesting questions about the meaning and value of freedom, and of literal interpretation of text. The rhythms hint at Gullah language, but the narrative is clear, accessible, and at the same time poetic. Pinkney's illustrations enhance the power of the tale by being at once realistic and mystical. This thought-provoking story would be a splendid addition to any collection.
Linda Greengrass, Bank Street College Library, New York City
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By highlandgroup@mindspring.com on March 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Siegelson writes lyrically and gives a lovely sense of Georgia's coastal islands. The mix of history and folk tale presents well to children, and seems to capture their interest and imagination. The book is a pleasure to read aloud and held the attention of both my ten year old and my six year old.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Siegelson has a mastery of words that is incredible. The rhythm of the words becomes immediately apparent as you read and it is definitely something you'll want to share right away. Brian Pinkey does a wonderful job, as usual, and the lines of his drawings echo the rhythm and lyricism of the story. I think it is interesting and appropriate to the story (you'll understand after you read it) that althought the story is based in historical fact, it is not limited by it. If you are an african-american parent, buy this book. If you are not an african-american parent, buy this book. I will be watching for the next by Kim Siegelson. Signed, a Children's Librarian in Oklahoma.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tiffany V. Hicks on November 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In the Time of the Drums is an excellent story of the Gullah heritage. It tells of a people who have not forgotten. Young Mentu is told of a time by his grandmother Twi, when he will be "strong-strong." Twi, a wise, respected elder of the community, leads her people home. Mentu is "strong-strong" as he passes the heart-felt beats, and stories that can't be forgotten to descendents, and to us.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Care Bear on September 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The book, In the Time of the Drums, by Kim L. Siegelson, is a story about the relationship between an island-born slave boy named Mentu and his grandmother, Twi, a woman who had grown up in Africa before she was captured and sent away to work on the island where the story takes place on the east coast of America. It is through her stories, secrets, and teachings of the songs played on the drums that Mentu finally understands what it means to be strong in the face of despair.

If I could come up with a word that could describe this book, it would be "descriptive." All of the words seemed to leap out at me with tons of imagery. I could actually see Mentu, Twi, and the island where they lived from my dorm room. The image of the island and its people that Brian Pinkney, the illustrator, drew also matched up perfectly with the life I envisioned Twi and Mentu having, from the look of the island and thatched roof huts to the clothes that they wore and the goat-skin drums that they played. All of these elements contributed greatly to the descriptive nature of this book and made it one that is a must-read for all young readers ages 8 and up.

I also liked the fact that this book focused on the theme of keeping one's heritage and culture alive at all costs. In a society where students of different cultures become "Americanized," it is important for young readers to value the differences they see among themselves along with their similarities. While similarities can bring all types of people together, it is our differences that make each individual unique and important in a multicultural society.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is rich in illustration and in story. The book resonates like a powerful drum beat. The author tells a tale that seems passed from generation to generation. This is a great read for Black History Month. This is a book you will read again and again to your children. The suggested age for readers of 4 to 8 is really too limiting. Children of all ages will enjoy and be moved by this book.
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