Very interesting story. I can just hear a storyteller telling it.The telling was simple and without a whole lot of dialect, which is good because since the author is from Iowa, I don't know that much more dialect would have felt authentic. As it was, the words felt like they flowed pretty well.
The illustrations were extremely well done. Even though the inside was entirely black and white and shades of grey, it felt alive and vibrant. The expressions on the faces of the two reoccurring children were absolutely captivating for some reason. They are not at all the main focus. But they are in the background of a lot of the pictures, and the joy and wonder on their faces as they look up to Big Sixteen when he accomplishes something amazing is...well....amazing. Really special.
Sometimes, when I read an older book (with the printing limitations they had) it *feels* like an old book - irrelevant, musty, due for an upgrade.
This one could maybe stand a reprinting to freshen it up, but it doesn't need anything else.
Now, for slight spoilery stuff:
1- I liked the book, even though the story itself made me mad. I mean, he was a good guy, right? he killed the devil, right? but he couldn't get into heaven "just in case" he got out of hand? I mean, talk about a black man being judged for crimes he hasn't committed! Social commentary for REAL!
2- Although I did really like the illustrations, I admit to being a little mad on first reading because he goes into hell and the devil, his wife, and all the little devil children are black. I got a stank face with that. But then, I had to chastise myself, cause St. Peter and all the angels are black, too. And none of the black characters, including the devils, are the picaninny stereotype. So that was nice.
Tags: download, mary calhoun, ebook, pdf, big sixteen
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