From School Library Journal
K Up. Hamilton offers readers and storytellers 11 animal trickster tales from the African diaspora. Most are quite familiar. "Bruh Wolf and Bruh Rabbit Join Together" is a variant of the popular tale about who gets the top or the bottom of the harvested crops. "The Cat and the Rat" takes a new twist when Bruh Wolf is brought in to help them share their find. "Cunnie Anansi Does Some Good" is a different take on name guessing. "Cunnie Rabbit and Spider Make a Match" is a tale about strength that also explains why animals have different colors or spots or stripes. It is the least successful offering as it lacks the humor and familiar touches found in "The Extraordinary Tug-of-War." As in When Birds Could Talk & Bats Could Sing (Scholastic, 1996) and In the Beginning (Harcourt, 1988), Moser's humorous illustrations of the principal characters capture and complement the wily, dazed, and perplexed demeanor of the animals as described by Hamilton. A section of notes helps readers understand the colloquialisms and contractions in the retellings and gives an explanation about the tricksters and the specific geographical location of the diaspora they represent. The format, size, and attractive illustrations make this title a good choice for group sharing.?Marie Wright, University Library, Indianapolis, IN
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 3^-6. Similiar in format and design to Hamilton and Moser's Newbery Honor Book, In the Beginning: Creation Stories from around the World
, this is a stunning collection of trickster tales from Africa and the diaspora. Some of these wily, bold creatures like Bruh Rabbit and Anansi will be familiar; others like the Africans' Cunnie Rabbit and Hare will be less well known. Moser's elegant and imaginative watercolors are a revelation. They strike a delicate balance between the characters' animal natures and human traits, often playing off the humor and wit of the narratives. Many of the tales are very funny, like the slapstick opener that finds the wily Bruh Rabby outsmarting the fiddling Bruh Gator. A few, such as "Buzzard and Wren Have a Race," are more restrained and pensive. In language that is simple yet eloquent, innovative yet accessible (especially when read aloud), Hamilton interprets three black vernaculars, including a version of the daunting Gullah. Hamilton's introduction is thoughtful, and the notes that accompany each yarn are fascinating; however, students of folklore might have appreciated the identification of specific sources and archives. This is but a minor flaw in an undeniably handsome and well-written book that showcases two masters at the top of their form. Julie Corsaro