A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Violence & Scariness
Specific horrors of slavery aren't reflected in the illustrations, but the intense artwork may inspire strong reactions.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this book's rhyming text, imaginative similes, and dynamic art will involve the reader.
Is It Any Good?
First published in 1968, this book has just as much impact today in representing the lives of slaves who "work for your master from your cradle to your grave." It's more mood piece than biography, and the simple rhyme plays a supporting role, allowing the reader to explore the story primarily through the powerfully symbolic art.
Jacob Lawrence uses strong, bold colors, and his partially abstract figures convey the universality of humankind. Art dominates each page, with white borders and a thin line. These lines sometimes encase the art and sometimes run off the page, creating movement in the illustrations.
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