In a style reminiscent of Zora Neale Hurston comes a new fable from Lorraine Johnson-Coleman, a tale for our rushed times that invites the reader to slow down and appreciate the wonder of relationships and to savor each day and the value we bring to one another. Travel down the road to Farmville, North Carolina, home to two of the South's most prominent residents, Big Man Gray and Old Miss Lizzy Mae (both mules of distinction), and the other animals of Tin Tub Place-Preacher, Blue Note, President, Angel, and Miss Bessie. Talking Mules offers a month-by-month, year-long view of Farmville through the eyes of these residents. The animals of Tin Tub Place mark the end of their story, the holiday season, by reminding one another that Christmas's greatest blessings are family and giving. Johnson-Coleman uses the power of her storytelling talent to show us that the gift of giving-the first miracle of Christmas-can happen every day of the year.
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Lorraine Johnson-Coleman is a regular commentator on NPR's Morning Edition and is the author of Just Plain Folks and Larissa's Bread Book. She has won the Publishers Weekly "Listen Up" Award and the Jade Crystal Award for her radio broadcasts and is a widely acclaimed speaker on Southern African American folk culture. She lives in Savannah, Georgia.From Booklist:
In this slender book, Johnson-Coleman, author and regular contributor to National Public Radio, offers commonsense observations on life through a tale about relationships among animals during a year in the life of Farmville. She chronicles changes both large and small--the local hussy returning after a long sojourn elsewhere and work disappearing with the coming of machinery. The mules' lives are marked by a relentless work season, punctuated by holidays and weekends when males and females congregate with their particular pursuits, mostly gossip. Johnson-Coleman recounts the rhythm of couplings, characters finding renewed comfort in their relationships while keeping a wary eye on any prospects of the partner straying. The community is unsettled by occasionally haunting spirits, recalling old secrets. The characters--Big Man Gray, Old Miss Lizzy Mae, Preacher, and others--live their quiet lives in a town that is "not an easy place to love." Readers who enjoy fables and tales of simple truths in life will appreciate this one. Vanessa Bush
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