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Bronzeville Boys and Girls Hardcover – December 26, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Brooks's deceptively simple poems for children combined with Ringgold's vibrant illustrations help to rejuvenate this collection first published in 1956. Inspired by Brooks's Chicago neighborhood, the events, feelings and thoughts of the children in the verse take on a timeless quality. The language and tone appear to be casual, but each poem is tightly constructed, rhythmic and distinctive. Whether the poem takes a child as its subject or unfolds in a child's voice, the images are universal. A new puppy has a "little wiggly warmness" and will not "mock the tears you have to hide." The snow is "white as milk or shirts./ So beautiful it hurts." Brooks's language remains economical yet astonishingly inventive. She describes how "Maurice importantly/ peacocks up and down./ Till bigly it occurs to him/ (It hits him like a slam)" that he won't be able to pack up his friends and take them along when he moves to another town. A few of the poems seem dated (kids call their mothers "Mother-dear," and when Paulette wants to run, her mother says "You're eight, and ready/ To be a lady") but on the whole, the collection will be as appealing to today's readers as it was to a child of the 1950s. Ringgold's bold illustrations, outlined with her signature thick black lines, are among some of her best and most narrative works since Tar Beach. She moves easily from cityscapes to cozy interior scenes around the family dinner table or singing at church. Ages 7-10. (Jan.)
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From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 4—The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet first published this collection of 34 brief poems in 1956. Each one presents a different child involved in a pastime that still figures in the lives of contemporary children. Mexie and Bridie are enjoying a tea party, small Narcissa is sitting still while her imagination transforms her into an ancient queen, and Michael hopes no one will notice that he holds his mother's hand during a thunderstorm. Some of the selections, such as "Robert," are reflective: "Do you ever look in the looking-glass/And see a stranger there?/A child you know and do not know,/Wearing what you wear?" Others, such as "Otto," offer a bit of social commentary:" It's Christmas Day. I did not get/The presents that I hoped for. Yet,/It is not nice to frown or fret./To frown or fret would not be fair./My Dad must never know I care/It's hard enough for him to bear." The original illustrations were black-and-white line drawings, done by Ronni Solbert, and despite the fact that the Bronzeville area of Chicago was also known as the Black Metropolis, featured white children. Ringgold's trademark, vibrantly colored, stylized art features children of color. This book is an excellent opportunity to introduce the work of an important author to a new generation. It should be considered a first purchase for most libraries.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Amistad; Reprint edition (December 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060295058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060295059
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #655,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 28, 2004
Format: Library Binding
We needn't act so surprised that the great twentieth century American poet Gwendolyn Brooks wrote books of poetry for children. What could be more natural? This poet shares her gifts with the small people that inhabit her hometown (in this case, Chicago). What did surprise me was the original publication date of this title. Now I read through this entire collection of urban poetry and I had a fairly clear idea that these poems must have been written in the 1970s. After all, collections of poems featuring African-American children were just beginning to blossom after the Civil Rights movement. I was feeling pretty smug until I glanced at the date in question. 1956. So roughly twenty years before the United States understood the importance of creating children's literature for people from all walks of life, Gwendolyn Brooks was taking matters into her own hands.

"Bronzeville Boys and Girls" collects thirty-four short poems about children into a single compendium. Each poem contains the name of a child. This child is either the subject of the poem, or the person delivering it. Taken as a whole, the book feels like nothing so much as a slightly updated series of nursery rhymes. Brooks is an accomplished poet and there is something about the way her lines scan that feels old and established. Take, for example, this poem entitled, "John, Who Is Poor". "Give him a berry, boys, when you may/ And, girls, some mint when you can/ And do not ask when his hunger will end/ Nor yet when it began". For me, these poems acknowledge the struggles that all children, regardless of race, face in the world's poverty laden big cities. Though most the poems have an element of whimsy or light-heartedness to them, many are socially conscious.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is awesome and helps to introduce young children to one of the greatest poets of our time, Gwendolyn Brooks. She captures here how a neighborhood is seen through the eyes of a child. There is beauty, there is wonder and there is imagination. It also helps us to explore and think about history. Bronzeville is a historic Chicago neighborhood for a variety of reasons. Then, there is the magic of childhood itself. This is a great resource for all teachers, parents and those who interact with young children!
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Format: Paperback
What I Thought– This is a nice multicultural poetry book that takes place in the 1950’s (or sometime around then). The poems take place in the Bronzeville section of Chicago, but could be anywhere where there are kids. They are simple poems, narrating from a character’s view. I like how it shows how people thought back then (in one poem, a girl is lamenting that she won’t be able to run anymore because it’s unladylike). Ms. Ringgold’s illustrations add a nice, warm feeling to the poetry. Altogether, they are a great team for this book.
*NOTE* I got a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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By Amanda Fitton on September 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The poetry and illustrations in this book combine to make it at rue joy and one of my treasured possessions
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