cover image BLACK ALL AROUND!


Patricia Hubbell, , illus. by Don Tate. . Lee & Low, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-58430-048-9

Relayed through the perspective of an African-American girl, Hubbell's (Bouncing Time) slim poem celebrates "the wonderful color black." Verse and pictures introduce an array of black items ranging from the tangible ("A big workhorse./ Some cats, of course./ Glossy beetles./ Busy ants./ The clothes men wear to a fancy dance") to the ethereal ("Like the back of a dream of stars and moon/ that floats through your head on an afternoon/ when you take a nap in a big old chair") to the personal ("Velvet soft./ Satin sleek./ Daddy's arm./ Momma's cheek"). The black objects stand out sharply against Tate's (Summer Sun Risin') brassy palette. In addition to the high-voltage colors, Tate also stylizes his perspectives and his figures. Heads are outsize, almost as large as the torsos, and the eyes are so wide apart as to triangulate each face. The artist does a good job varying the settings, supplying both fantasy and homelike backdrops that incorporate the images from the text. The closing pages show the girl cozy in her bed, with many of the aforementioned items wafting through her dreams. Ages 3-8. (Apr.)