Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out! Games, Stories & Songs from an African American Childhood

Patricia C. McKissack, illus. by Brian Pinkney. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $24.99 (184p) ISBN 978-0-375-87088-0
Over nine chapters, McKissack celebrates oral traditions in African-American communities through a vibrant assemblage of rhymes, proverbs, folktales, and songs, drawing on memories of her own upbringing. Movement is central to many offerings—particularly in opening chapters that share clapping, rope-jumping, and ring games such as “Eenie-Meenie-Sassafreeny” and “Hot, Hot Pepper”—and it’s ably reflected in Pinkney’s swoopy watercolor-and-ink illustrations (not all seen by PW), which frequently feature dancing and singing children, as well as familiar folk figures such as Anansi, Br’er Rabbit, and John Henry in later sections. McKissack often addresses how slavery and discrimination shaped many of these tales and songs, including the coded messages of “Follow the Drinking Gourd” or a hand-clapping song, “Shame,” that she sung as a child in a segregated Nashville “to poke fun at the stores whose rules restricted us.” It’s a collection valuable both for its rich assembly of songs and stories that have delighted, comforted, and inspired generations of black families and for the illuminating historical context that McKissack brings to each selection. All ages. Author’s agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. Illustrator’s agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/14/2016
Release date: 01/10/2017
Library Binding - 184 pages - 978-0-375-97088-7
Ebook - 978-0-307-97495-2
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