Mirandy and Brother Wind

Patricia C. McKissack, Author, Pat McKissack, Author, Jerry Pinkney, Illustrator
Patricia C. McKissack, Author, Pat McKissack, Author, Jerry Pinkney, Illustrator Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers $17 (32p) ISBN 978-0-394-88765-4
Reviewed on: 09/12/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
As a prefatory note explains, this picture book was inspired by a photo of the author's grandparents winning a cakewalk``a dance rooted in Afro-American culture''and her grandfather's boast that, in her dancing, his wife had captured the wind. In the book, Mirandy determines to catch Brother Wind and have him for her partner in the upcoming junior cakewalk. She tries a number of tactics springing from folk wisdom, and finally succeeds in trapping her prey in the barn. At the contest, Mirandy chooses to dance with her friend Ezelbut, with Brother Wind to do her bidding, the two friends win the cakewalk in style. Told in spirited dialect and rendered in lavish, sweeping watercolors, this provides an intriguing look at a time gone by. As a story, however, it proves somewhat disappointing. After the colorful description of cakewalking in the author's note and the anticipation created through Mirandy's own eagerness, the brief and rather static scenes portraying the dance itself are a letdown. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
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