In this handsome book, you will meet the Hendersons, who live on a Southern plantation with their children in 1853. You'll also meet Daddy Major, Rosena, Scipio, and Cicero, slaves who work in the Big House and in the cotton fields. Full-color photographs of interiors, clothing, and objects, plus artwork and oral history, document a typical day on a plantation. You will see the stately bedrooms and dining room of the plantation house, as well as the simple slave quarters and cabins. Inside the Big House, morning chores are done and the children readied for school (or play); in the kitchen house, food is cooked and bread is baked; and in the sugar house, cane is crushed. Readers will learn about mealtimes, leisure hours, doctors and disease, and bedtimes. They'll also learn about attitudes toward slavery, slave meetings in the woods, and much more in this unique visit to a restored Southern plantation in New Iberia, Louisiana.
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Grade 4-7-Through words and images, this book shows what life was like on a cotton plantation in Louisiana in 1853 from the point of view of both the landowners and the slaves. The first section gives a brief but informative look at the United States in the late 1700s and early 1800s. A discussion of free and slave states and territories and the Compromise of 1850 is accompanied by a helpful map. Next comes a summary of how and why the slave trade originated and grew in this country. Then, representative families are introduced. Detailed drawings show the layout of the plantation buildings and the floor plan of the Big House. Most two-page spreads include a mixture of text, drawings, and photographs that vividly illustrate the lifestyle. Many of the photographs were taken on a restored plantation in Louisiana. The bulk of the book gives children an hour-by-hour tour of the plantation, discussing what each group of people would be doing. The McKissacks' Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters (Scholastic, 1994) is told as a story, with more personal and emotional details. Erickson takes a "middle of the road" approach. He does not portray happy slaves but he does not relate all of the horrors of slavery. The two books are very different, and could be used together to give a more complete understanding of the period.
Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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