The Black Snowman

Phil Mendez, Author, Carole M. Byard, Illustrator Scholastic $15.95 (48p) ISBN 978-0-590-40552-2
Jacob Miller is an inner-city boy who hates being black and poor. He reluctantly assists his little brother Peewee in making a black snowman from the filthy snow in the back alley. The figure comes alive after they unknowingly drape him in a fragment of the magical kente , a cloth worn by African storytellers for hundreds of years. The snowman challenges Jacob's outlook on life by telling him all the wonderful things that are black, and mysteriously conjuring forth brave heroes from African tribal tradition. When Peewee is trapped inside a burning building, the snowman shows Jacob a way to save his brother while exhorting the boy to believe in himself. Using mystical elements and the power of the past, Mendez, in his first book, weaves a stirring tale of Jacob's transformation from a bitter victim of his situation into a proud fighter for his life. Byard's haunting color drawings bring to life not only the snowman; they successfully portray the many contrasts between Jacob's dour moods, Peewee's optimism, the dingy apartment and the eerie parade of stately African tribesmen. The valuable lesson inherent in The Black Snowman is not just for black children but for all who struggle for identity within their own worlds. Ages 7-10. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
Prebound-Sewn - 52 pages - 978-0-606-00318-6
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7569-8267-6
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-34348-0
Paperback - 48 pages - 978-0-590-44873-4
Paperback - 978-0-590-40553-9
Paperback - 48 pages - 978-0-439-76993-8
Prebound-Glued - 48 pages - 978-0-8335-5037-8
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