Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

!!To protect your privacy, please remember to log out when you are finished. The Log Out button is at the top of the page.!!

Bruh Rabbit and the tar baby girl /

In this retelling, using Gullah speech, of a familiar story the wily Brer Rabbit outwits Brer Fox who has set out to trap him. Full description

Main Author:
Other Authors: Ransome, James,
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: The Blue Sky Press, 2003
Tags: Add Tag
No Tags, Be the first to tag this record!
View on New Catalog
Cover Image
Saved in:

Esteemed author Virginia Hamilton retells the classic trickster tale of Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby in her own distinctive, playful vernacular with paintings by acclaimed artist James Ransome.

Bruh Rabbit may indeed have met his match when he comes across a tar baby in the middle of the road. The baby's deaf, dumb and blind attitude infuriates the plucky trickster, just as Wolf planned! When Bruh Rabbit gets entangled in the tar baby's sticky embrace, has he finally been foiled by his long-time enemy? Certainly not, if Wolf falls for Bruh Rabbit's clever reverse-psychology and flings the wily rabbit into the briar patch!
Spun in Virginia Hamilton's unique vernacular, this will be a delight to those familiar with Bruh Rabbit's games, and a unforgettable introduction for newcomers!

Review by Booklist Review

PreS-Gr. 2. As demonstrated in her African American story collections The People Could Fly (1985) and Her Stories (1995), the late Hamilton's research into history and folklore has always been rigorous, but she has never allowed it to get in the way of her telling. In this version of the beloved Tar Baby trickster story, she drew on Gullah folklore from the Sea Islands of South Carolina. Her rhythmic, immediate version is well matched by Ransome's paintings, both cozy and exciting, which extend the fun with beautiful farmland scenes at dayclean (dawn) and daylean (evening) picturing the wily rabbit thief in human clothes repeatedly outwitting the wolf. The hilarious climax of the story is unforgettable as Rabbit first talks to Tar Baby (\lquote Girl, why won't you speak to me? What you doing out here?' ), then sticks to her, each part of his body in turn. Although things look bleak, Rabbit still wins in the end, and Hamilton's source note, which points to Bruh Rabbit as a favorite character among African American slave storytellers, who always seemed helpless but was traditionally really tricky and clever. A perfect choice for reading aloud. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2003 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In this sparkling Gullah version of a favorite Brer Rabbit story, the immediacy and quirky originality of the late Hamilton's voice make ordinary prose seem quite dull in comparison. The author balances the dialect just right, capturing the musical sounds and cadences of the language in which the stories were first told while keeping the meaning clear to young readers: "Bruh Wolf planted corn one year, and Bruh Rabbit didn't plant a thing. Rabbit, him," she says, "is tricky-some-about to fool a body and not do a lick of work himself." Her images cunningly prod readers to emphasize words that imitate the action described: "Rabbit sneakity-sneaks along.... He's creeping low-down, slow-down, and he sees the scarey-crow-whoom!-standing still and very white in the shine of the moon." If not quite as witty as Barry Moser's Brer Rabbit, Ransome's (Visiting Day) characters ably straddle the demands of their folktale roles. They wear human clothing, for example, but their faces are animal-like both in the glassy roundness of their eyes and in their inscrutability. All in all, this version is just about as satisfying as sitting down on a croker sack and hearing the tale first-hand. Ages 4-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-Hamilton's masterful retelling of the tar baby story brings Bruh Rabbit to Bruh Wolf's well-tended garden, where he just helps himself to the corn and peanuts. A "scarey-crow" doesn't frighten Bruh Rabbit at all, so Bruh Wolf puts up a tar baby girl, "standing black in the moonshine." Bruh Rabbit is perplexed. "This seems like a little girl. I best study upon this here." By the time he's done studying upon that silent girl, he's completely stuck. Bruh Wolf is ready to eat him, but Bruh Rabbit pleads, "- I beg you.- You may roast me and toast me; you may cut me up and eat me. But whatever you do, don't throw me in the briar bush!" Readers familiar with or new to the story will relish the rabbit's sneaky escape. Retold in Gullah, Hamilton's narrative is meticulously paced, lyrical, hilarious, and a joy to read aloud. Ransome's lush watercolors suit the story perfectly; there are expansive double-page paintings as well as full-page pictures that face a page of framed, large-print text. An endnote describes the story's origins, as well as some of the possibly obscure terms. This lovely example of a folktale in picture-book format will be a welcome addition to any library.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Virginia Hamilton was born March 12, 1934. She received a scholarship to Antioch College, and then transferred to the Ohio State University in Columbus, where she majored in literature and creative writing. She also studied fiction writing at the New School for Social Research in New York.

Her first children's book, Zeely, was published in 1967 and won the Nancy Bloch Award. During her lifetime, she wrote over 40 books including The People Could Fly, The Planet of Junior Brown, Bluish, Cousins, the Dies Drear Chronicles, Time Pieces, Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl, and Wee Winnie Witch's Skinny. She was the first African American woman to win the Newbery Award, for M. C. Higgins, the Great. She has won numerous awards including three Newbery Honors, three Coretta Scott King Awards, an Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award. She was also the first children's author to receive a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant in 1995.

She died from breast cancer on February 19, 2002 at the age of 67.

(Bowker Author Biography)