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“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read.”
Publisher: Amistad/Greenwillow Books, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,
Material: hard cover
Summary: A hound, strumming his guitar, tells the story of Rosa Parks, the Montgomery (Alabama) bus boycott, and the end of Jim Crow. The story is written in poetic form and reads like a blues song. This is a picture book story that uses verse to describe the history of the Civil Rights Movement
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 10; read yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 6 to 9
Reading Level: 2
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is not a rhyming story, but it has a very definite rhythm to its pace. The illustrations, done almost exclusively in black and shades of blue and yellow/orange, force you to slow down. Together, the words and images draw you into a better understanding of Rosa Parks' single act of courage. As you're reading, you can almost hear the music in the background. The publisher characterizes the age range as 5 to 8. This may be difficult for some 5-year-olds to understand.
Pros: Enjoy this book as poetry or for it's historical significance. The book moves you through Rosa Park's arrest and the 382 days of the Montgomery bus tour with words that weave facts and emotion.
Cons: I wish there were a CD with this book. For those unfamiliar with the blues, the background music would really bring the book to life and draw out the wearing-down of the year.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a book that does more than describe who Rosa Parks is and describe the Montgomery bus boycott. It is a testament to personal strength and integrity, the power of a single act, and never giving up. These are timeless ideals, and this is a book that reminds us of that.
Educational Themes: Although this is a story meant to describe the Montgomery bus boycott and talk about Rosa Parks, it is a treasure-trove of details about the Civil Rights Movement. There are plenty of facts and dates, as well as anecdotal examples of efforts to undermine the effort. It presents both the power and pressures that go with acts of civil disobedience
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 2.01
Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, poetry, history, US history