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Under the Quilt of Night Paperback – January 1, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Under the quilt of night a young slave girl leads her loved ones away from the slave master who worked them: "hoeing and picking, / mending and sewing, / till my hands got raw." In this striking companion to Deborah Hopkinson and James Ransome's Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, Hopkinson uses the rhythm of verse to echo the drumming of the slaves' feet as they travel along the Underground Railroad in pre-Civil War times. Ransome's oil painting illustrations are rich with the purple hues of night, and fraught with the tense emotions of the men, women, and children trying to escape--and those helping them. Over the course of the story, the deep purple gradually lightens, as the sun begins to rise and the slaves approach freedom. The final illustration is a veritable sunburst of brilliant orange and yellow. Our heroine's voice "flies up in song. / My own song / of running in sunshine / and dancing through fields. / I'll jump every fence in my way." A truly glorious celebration of the brave souls who kept alive the secret network of people helping others escape slavery. (Ages 5 to 11) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Dramatic oil paintings and compelling verse-like prose combine to portray the harsh yet hopeful experience of travel along the Underground Railroad. Hopkinson and Ransome revisit the theme of their first collaboration, Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt. This time readers journey the precarious trail to freedom with a young runaway as she escapes to Canada via clandestine routes and dangerous nighttime treks. The intense opening spread features three panels showing her nameless family running for their lives by the light of the full moon, some shoeless or with only rags on their feet. (Subsequent pages show snarling dogs and overseers in hot pursuit.) The story comes to a formidable climax when they're almost discovered hiding in the back of a wagon. Hopkinson names each segment of the journey ("Running," "Waiting," "Hiding") and her narrative conveys the emotional and physical hardships of the trip ("Fear is so real, it lies here beside me"). The author connects the metaphorical protective quilt of night with folkloric elements (legend has it that quilts with blue center squares indicated safe houses on the Underground Railroad). Ransome fills in the characterizations with portraits that convey a strong familial connection and the kindness of the conductors along the way. This suspenseful story successfully introduces and sheds light on a pivotal chapter in America's history for youngest readers. Ages 5-10.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 580 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin; Reprint edition (January 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689877005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689877001
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book by the same author and illustrator of Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt. However, this time, the narrator remains anonymous but is not forgotten. Without undue melodrama, she tells how part of her family is about to be sold off; the time is now or never to escape, which she and part of her family does. Though the slaves are fleeing their cruel owners, the book focuses on the good, kind people along the underground railroad who help the runaways find safety in Canada. Noteworthy are the secret codes the fleeing slaves and their protectors used, such as the owl hoot, lantern, and log cabin quilt patterns. The latter idea is drawn from "Hidden in Plain View," an adult book that unlocks much of the secret communication that enabled thousands of slaves find safety and freedom. (I recommend "Hidden in Plain View" highly.) The illustrations are breathtaking; I particularly like the geese flying north when the family reaches a northern US church (flying geese is another quilt code pattern). This book should be read with "Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt" and "Follow the Drinking Gourd." The story of the Underground Railroad is a story of how conscientious good can overcome evil. "Under the Quilt of Night" is a story that needs to be told and remembered
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Format: Hardcover
"I'm young/but my legs are strong./I can run.// I run so fast,/I lead the way;/the ones I love race right behind./Pounding dirt and grass,/jumping rocks and roots,/my feet make drumbeats/on the path..." So begins our young narrator's race for freedom on the Underground Railroad. She and her family travel "under the quilt of night", through the woods and across rivers and streams to a safe house where they receive dry clothes, food and a place to sleep before they're secreted away in a false bottomed wagon to the next stop on their way to Canada and freedom. And always behind them the men and their dogs, tracking this brave band of slaves. It's a harrowing journey. "...We can't turn back - /we would be beaten, sold away,/our chances gone for good./We must go on or die./I hang on tight./Fear is so real, it lies here beside me..." But this is a "ride" that must be taken; the trip to freedom..... Deborah Hopkinson and James Ransome's marvelous sequel to Sweet Clara And The Freedom Quilt is a powerful, tense, and compelling introduction to the Underground Railroad and pre-Civil War history. Ms Hopkinson's stirring text, written in free verse is full of imagery and magic, and enhanced by Mr Ransome's evocative and expressive illustrations, done in dark and ominous tones. Together word and art transport the reader back 150 years to the dark of night for an unforgettable ride, and youngsters will experience both the fear of escape and discovery, and the sheer joy of freedom at journey's end. Perfect for children 7 and older, Under The Quilt Of Night includes an author's note at the end to explain and enrich the story. "Freedom!/I take a deep breath/and when I let go/my voice flies up in a song./My own song/of running in sunshine/and dancing through fields./I'll jump every fence in my way."
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Format: Hardcover
Under the Quilt of Night was a wonderful historical fiction story of an adolescent girl's experience with the Underground Railroad. The young girl takes the lead in her family's flight from slavery. She shows strength, courage, and determination. The fluid illustrations give the reader a feeling of urgency. The reader can understand the feelings of the characters through the pictures. Deborah Hopkinson captivates her readers as she takes them through the journey of running, waiting, watching, hiding, traveling, and singing. The main character remains anonymous throughout the book forcing the reader to focus on the journey.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This fulfills all expectations. I am confused about why some negative reviews said it does a disservice to children and uses some uneducated language. The language is en par with the best of children's books. It isn't straight prose but it is good in all literary measures. It evokes intense feelings and issues with a few words. I have a five-year-old niece who gained great understanding from this book and from "Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt" and can discuss the history. What mre can you ask?
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By Brea B. on January 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a appropriate book for younger ones. I would say it was a little harder for my pre-k but my 8 yr old summing up each page for him and at the end they both seemed to like it. This and a couple of other books have taught them a lot at their age level.
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Format: Paperback
UNDER THE QUILT OF NIGHT, written by Deborah Hopkinson, is a wonderful story of the journeys taken by slaves long ago on their path to freedom. A runaway girl flees with other slaves during the darkness of night, waiting, listening, and looking for the opportunity to continue fleeing toward safety. When she spots a quilt hanging outside a house, she knows she's found a safe house in which she will be fed and sheltered. At the end of their travels, they meet freedom.

This is a wonderful story capturing events I'm sure happened many nights during the times of slavery. The writing flows fluidly and is set up in several poem-like passages throughout the book. The illustrations are wonderful, clearly showing the darkness of the night, the emotions of the characters, as well as the symbolic nature of their plight. This is a book I'd highly recommend to parents, teachers, and librarians for older children as everyone should study and know about The Underground Railroad.

Children at the lower end of the projected age range may not enjoy the book as much if reading alone because the colors are more somber than most kids' books. However, if read with an adult or coupled with lessons on the Underground Railroad, it may be more enjoyable to them.

Reviewed by Tee C. Royal

of The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers
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