W. Nikola-Lisa is a professor of education at National-Louis University in Evanston, Illinois. He is also the author of My Teacher Can Teach...Anyone!, Setting the Turkeys Free and Bein' With You This Way among other children's titles. Don Tate has illustrated several children's books, including Black All Around!
PreS-Gr 1-As the sun rises, a young African-American boy wakes up and begins his busy, enjoyable day on the family farm. Milking cows, feeding pigs, and plowing the field are some of the activities in which he takes part. A midday picnic and evening fishing with his father balance out the day, which concludes with bedtime stories, Pa playing his guitar, and Ma reading the mail. The story is told in a comforting, lulling rhyme ("Bees in the hive fruit on the trees. Summer sun's stirrin' a summertime breeze") that suits the wholesome setting perfectly. The illustrations, oil and acrylic on textured paper, are stylized and curved to reflect the lay of the land. A Texas farm served as the model for this book, expansively depicted on the double-page spreads. This is a nicely designed book, from its endpapers (saffron at the beginning, cobalt at the end) to its simple, homespun typeface. It truly conjures up a lovely summer's day on a farm, and can be used during storytimes or as a cozy one-on-one bedtime story.-Anna DeWind Walls, Milwaukee Public Library Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
An African-American boy and his parents tend their farm while marking the transit of the ever-changing sun in this plainspoken paean to agricultural life. Tate's (Say Hey: A Song of Willie Mays) stylized full-bleed paintings, shown to advantage in the book's horizontal (10" 8") format, exaggerate the expansiveness of the plains by rendering the horizon as a gentle but unmistakable arc. It's as if the farm were hugging the edge of a globe, the earth as round to the narrator's eye as the constantly visible sun. The characters' highly sculpted faces suggest the contours of the land, and their expressions radiate confidence and satisfaction. While the tweaked perspectives occasionally can be unsettling (in a view of the boy at breakfast, the dishes seem to slide straight down the surface of the tabletop), the pictures will immediately engage readers. Short verses comment on farm activities and the relative position of the sun. Adopting a laconic, rural voice, Nikola-Lisa (Bein' with You This Way) sometimes crosses the line into monotony. Still, he conjures up a compelling, comforting rhythm from the accumulation of small details: "Birds in the roost, kittens in the yarn, Cows linin' up down by the barn. Pa cracks the door, I swing it wide. Summer sun's shinin', floodin' inside." Ages 3-6. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.