The Sweet and Sour Animal Book

Langston Hughes, Author, Students of the Harlem School for the Ar, Illustrator, Students from the Harlem School of the A, Illustrator Oxford University Press, USA $17.95 (48p) ISBN 978-0-19-509185-4
What could possibly add to the excitement of publishing a long-lost manuscript by one of the century's most important African American writers? The folks at Oxford offer an inspired answer: a classroom full of young creative talent. In this fresh, imaginative alphabet book, 26 newly discovered poems by Hughes are teamed with 3-D works by first-, second- and third-graders at the Harlem School of the Arts. The result is a marvelous union of graphics and text, alight with color and whimsy. Hughes's poems are models of brevity and wit (``There was a camel/ Who had two humps./ He thought in his youth/ They were wisdom bumps./ Then he learned/ They were nothing but humps-/ And ever since he's/ Been in the dumps''). Called forth from these words, the students' menagerie-created from clay, paper, paint and cardboard, and unfettered by artistic preconceptions-are laugh-out-loud wonderful, from the solemn, pop-eyed flock of owls to the bright explosion of fish that graces the front cover. A foreword by Ben Vereen (a friend of Hughes) and afterword by George Cunningham give the book additional heft. All ages. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/1994
Release date: 12/01/1994
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