From School Library Journal
Grade 1-5–Following an excellent two-page introduction about Bruh Rabbit stories and her experiences with them, McGill presents five entertaining tales. In "Please Don't Fling Me in the Briar Patch," Bruh Rabbit cleverly outwits the animals that want to punish him for stealing their dinner. Next, a good-hearted possum is taken advantage of by a snake. In "How the Critters Got Groceries," Bruh Cooter helps possum catch a meal. Bruh Rabbit returns in the last two selections, first tricking Bruh Fox into taking a beating for him, and then trying to win the hand of Bruh King's daughter. McGill begins and ends each story with a few comments, including where and from whom she first heard it, musings about its moral, and a personal anecdote or two. The text is lengthy, but children will be riveted by the storytelling. Done in acrylic paint on textured paper, the mostly full-page illustrations are filled with vivid colors and details. Tate captures the personality of each of the characters, as well as the humor inherent in these stories. Varying perspectives keep the action moving. This excellent collection makes a great choice for reading aloud and will appeal to a wide audience. It's also a strong addition for libraries looking for contemporary versions of Bruh Rabbit tales.–Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
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*Starred Review* PreS-Gr. 3. Drawing on the tales she heard from her African American family and community growing up in rural North Carolina more than 50 years ago, McGill tells five trickster stories with warmth, wit, and simple immediacy that's just right for reading aloud. There's no heavy dialect, but a colloquial voice is part of the narrative ("Bruh Rabbit was a bad mammajamma. That meant he had pluck"), as are occasional elements of call and response. Based on clay models, the animal characters in human clothes are reminiscent of puppets in the big, clear oil-and-acrylic illustrations; their body language and exaggerated expressions are wonderful as they question, scheme, rage, and--sometimes--outwit the powerful. In tales such as "Please Don't Fling Me in the Briar Patch," Bruh Rabbit outsmarts everyone and gets his way. But in "Looking to Get Married," he can't beat the king/slave-owner ("all worked for him and didn't get paid"), and the hero doesn't get the princess and live happily ever after. In both her introduction and informal headnotes, McGill talks about the fun of hearing the stories as a child and also about the history she learned later, including the fact that the sly rabbit was a spokesperson for slaves, a character brought with them from Africa. The combination of trickster fun, historical truth, and personal storytelling tradition makes this a winner. Hazel Rochman
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