Nolen, Jerdine Big Jabe

ISBN 13: 9780060540616

Big Jabe

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9780060540616: Big Jabe

When a young slave named Addy goes fishing one spring day, she doesn't catch any fish. Instead, she finds a little boy in a basket floating in the river. Jabe is no ordinary boy: in a few short months, he grows to be a big, strong man with the strength of fifty. He can pick an entire field of cotton by himself in just one night and day. Why, he even has the power to turn a tired old workhorse into a young filly ready to race! When slaves begin to miraculously disappear from the Plenty Plantation, Addy knows in her heart that Jabe is the reason why.

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Review:

Young Addy, a house slave on Mr. Plenty's plantation, is fishing (unsuccessfully) for Mr. Plenty's supper one day when she notices a wicker basket bobbing in the water. Inside this basket is a smiling young boy who offers Addy "a plump round pear, as golden as the noonday sun," and then proceeds to amaze her with wondrous feats. First he calls up a wagon-full of fish from the river. Then he plants the seeds from the pear, which grow into a tree almost overnight. The boy himself, named Jabe, grows up quickly as well, and within months is working on the plantation, a giant man with the strength of fifty. Mysterious events take place around Jabe. Each time the plantation overseer punishes one of the slaves, a huge storm comes up in the night, and the following day the punished slave has vanished. Only Addy suspects the truth: that Jabe, with his mythic powers, is spiriting the slaves away to freedom.

This marvelous tall tale celebrates the dream of freedom and the strength of community among slaves in America. Jerdine Nolen's folksy style and light touch on a heavy subject give this original yarn a genuine feel for its setting and era, and the story matches perfectly with Kadir Nelson's stunning artwork in earthy tones and vivid textures. Both author and illustrator capture the harshness of a slave's daily life without resorting to explicit depictions of cruelty. The very talented Kadir Nelson also illustrated Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream, and Jerdine Nolen is the author of the award-winning Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm. (Ages 5 to 8) --Emilie Coulter

About the Author:

Jerdine Nolen is the author of a diverse range of picture books, from the thoughtful In My Momma's Kitchen to the wildly imaginative Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm, which was made into a TV movie. Jerdine Nolen lives with her children in Ellicott City, Maryland.



Kadir Nelson is one of the most accomplished, award-winning illustrators working today and is known for his stunning oil paintings depicting the African-American experience. He won the 2012 Coretta Scott King Author Award and Illustrator Honor for Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans. He received Caldecott Honors for Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine, and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford, for which he also garnered a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and won an NAACP Image Award; Ellington Was Not a Street by Ntozake Shange won a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award. Nelson's authorial debut, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, was a New York Times bestseller, a Coretta Scott King Author Award winner, and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book. Baby Bear was his first picture book for the very youngest readers.

Kadir Nelson's paintings have been exhibited in many galleries and museums around the world, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, both in Los Angeles; the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History in Detroit; the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum in Washington, DC; the Citizen's Gallery of Yokohama, Japan; and the Studio Museum in Harlem. He is also the cover artist for Michael Jackson's posthumous album, Michael.

Kadir Nelson lives in Southern California.

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