From School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-A utilitarian rope-now a toy, now a clothesline, now a fastening cord-ties together this lyrical multigenerational story of one family's experience leaving the South for greater opportunities up North. Woodson's text and Ransome's warm, lived-in oils begin in the sweet expanse of South Carolina, the rich rural landscape contrasted with the busy, populous images of the family's new stone-and-concrete neighborhood in Brooklyn. Every page turn reveals the titular phrase again, but the repetition does not weary as the family thrives and evolves in great leaps and short steps. Significant episodes like the arrival of a baby or the beginning of college unfold in meaningful text and blend with fine splashes of humor; one surprisingly dynamic and evocative spread shows a teenager's room-Prince poster on the wall, Michael Jackson albums scattered on the bed-and the shadow of a mischievous younger brother dashing down the hallway with the rope, needed for "some crazy game that little boys play." An author's note offers a brief familial history as well as a few lines about the Great Migration and supports the text as a resounding affirmation of the journey made by more than six million African Americans in search of change. With characteristic grace and a knack for the right detail, Woodson and Ransome have provided a pleasing portrait of one loving family in the midst of a movement.-Robbin E. Friedman, Chappaqua Library, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
A little African American girl skips rope “back home in South Carolina” in the mid-twentieth century. When she is grown, with a husband and a baby girl, she uses that rope to tie up their belongings as they move to New York City. A few years later, it becomes a skipping rope for her little girl. And when she grows up, her father uses it to tie up her belongings for the drive to college. Later, she marries and has a little girl of her own, who skips rope in Brooklyn. That child narrates this intergenerational family story, which (in an author’s note) Woodson relates to the Great Migration. Expressive oil paintings illustrate the clean, well-cadenced text in scenes that include well-researched period details. Although it is difficult to convey the passage of so much time in a 32-page picture book, and children may have trouble keeping track of the generations, there’s no doubt of the warmth and strength of the family ties that bind these individuals together. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY-- Woodson and Ransome both have huge followings who will be interested in what this collaboration has produced. Grades 1-3. --Carolyn Phelan