Traditional Bengali scroll art and oral storytelling come together in this retelling of the life of Martin Luther King Jr., though the fusion of the two media is rarely harmonious. English professor and performance poet Flowers provides the text, which chronicles not only King's life but also centuries of racial abuses, beginning with the slave trade. Accompanying the text are Chitrakar's vibrant illustrations, full of lush primary colors and bold brush strokes; their power is diluted by the page layout, particularly the distracting blocks of texts superimposed over the images. Judged separately, the components are strong, and the idea to present King's life as a cross-cultural mixture of art and words is effective. Flowers shows King not only as a man committed to fighting injustice but also as one who struggled to find his place in the rapidly changing civil rights climate, as nonviolent protests were becoming a thing of the past. There is little attempt to integrate the text, let alone the font, with the imagery, however, leaving the reader with an overall impression, despite the novel approach, of disjointed parts soldered together to make a rickety whole. Ages 9–12. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/06/2010 Release date: 11/01/2010 Genre: Children's
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