cover image Harriet and the Promised Land

Harriet and the Promised Land

Jacob Lawrence. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $18.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-671-86673-0

This powerful tribute to the courage of Harriet Tubman provides an ideal introduction to the work of African American artist Lawrence. Tubman's life is dramatically portrayed in stunning artwork, bold with bright blocks of color and informed by a keen sense of symmetry. As Tubman leads slaves to freedom, their cloaks of red, yellow and vivid blue are illuminated against the landscape. Lawrence's paintings honor their subjects; they are alive with a movement and complexity that contrast well with the sparse simplicity of the text. Brief verse pares Tubman's experiences to their essence. The text seems simple (``Harriet, Harriet, / Born a slave, / Work for your master, / From your cradle / To your grave''), yet it resonates with a wealth of emotions--anger, fear, jubilation. The rhythmic pulse of the verse conveys constant danger, the howl of a bloodhound pack closing in. This moving and beautiful book will stimulate interest in the artist as well as in his subject. All ages. (Oct.)