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A little boy in India loses his fine new clothes to the tigers, but while they dispute who is the grandest tiger in the jungle he takes his fine clothes back again.
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Helen BannermanFrom School Library Journal:
PreSchool-Grade 4-Despite the controversy surrounding Bannerman's racially insensitive choice of names and style of illustration for her 1899 book, Little Black Sambo perseveres in print and in the memories of adults who encountered the tale as children. Whereas Julius Lester (Sam and the Tigers [Dial, 1996]) casts Sam as a hero of the American South, and Fred Marcellino places The Story of Little Babaji (HarperCollins, 1996) in India, Bing affirms Bannerman's text and the incongruities inherent in fantasy. His African child lives in India where those infamous tigers want to eat him up-until each receives a portion of his new outfit. This is vintage Bing. The book has a weathered look, including the illusion of ripped seams and folded, yellowed pages. The danger, however, is palpable from the outset: the linen and gilt cover bears the deep, jagged imprint of a claw. Each double-page painting is framed in black and infused with golden light. The glow emanates from the sun, the tigers, the domes-foreshadowing the brilliance of that "lovely melted butter." Pen and ink are applied meticulously to skin, fur, and landscape, creating a rich overall texture and depth; the areas of unadulterated color provide the magical aura. Endpapers decorated with newspaper clippings, postcards, maps, shadow puppets, and other realia provide an in-depth history of the story and the particulars of this version. Some adults will no doubt continue to debate the use of Sambo. Children will be dazzled and delighted by the turn of events depicted here.
Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
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