Cover image for The sweet and sour animal book / Langston Hughes ; illustrations by students of the Harlem School of the Arts ; introduction by Ben Vereen ; afterword by George P. Cunningham.
Title:
The sweet and sour animal book / Langston Hughes ; illustrations by students of the Harlem School of the Arts ; introduction by Ben Vereen ; afterword by George P. Cunningham.

The Iona and Peter Opie library of children's literature

Iona and Peter Opie library of children's literature.
Title:
The sweet and sour animal book / Langston Hughes ; illustrations by students of the Harlem School of the Arts ; introduction by Ben Vereen ; afterword by George P. Cunningham.
Publisher Info:
New York : Oxford University Press, c1994.
Physical Description:
1 volumes (unpaged) : illustrations (some color) ; 21 x 26 cm.
Series:
The Iona and Peter Opie library of children's literature

Iona and Peter Opie library of children's literature.
Abstract:
Twenty-six short poems introduce animals for each letter of the alphabet, from Ape to Zebra.
Added Corporate Author:

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Library
Call Number
Material Type
Status
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J 811.52 HUGH Book Juvenile Nonfiction
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Summary

Summary

Newt
Newt, newt
What can you be?

Just
A salamander, child.
That's me!

In 26 never-before-published short and wonderfully clever poems, Langston Hughes takes children through both the alphabet and the animal world. From Ape to Zebra--with bees, camels, fish, and even a unicorn in between--he paints a picture of each animal with just a few simple, but telling, words. Hughes also knows what makes children giggle:
What use
Is a goose
Except to quackle?

If a goose
Can't quackle
She's out of whackle.

The publication of a new manuscript by Langston Hughes is an important event in American literature. But when you add the fanciful three-dimensional animals built especially for this book by first and second graders from the Harlem School of the Arts, an introduction for children by entertainer and humanitarian Ben Vereen, and an afterword for older children and adults that delves into the work Hughes did for and with children, you have an instant classic. Oxford is proud to bring this new Hughes manuscript to life, and to share with children and adults alike the exhuberant, wise, and funny world of animals as seen by an American literary genius.


Author Notes

Langston Hughes, February 1, 1902 - May 22, 1967 Langston Hughes, one of the foremost black writers to emerge from the Harlem Renaissance, was born on February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Mo. Hughes briefly attended Columbia University before working numerous jobs including busboy, cook, and steward. While working as a busboy, he showed his poems to American poet Vachel Lindsay, who helped launch his career. He soon obtained a scholarship to Lincoln University and had several works published.

Hughes is noted for his depictions of the black experience. In addition to the black dialect, he incorporated the rhythms of jazz and the blues into his poetry. While many recognized his talent, many blacks disapproved of his unflattering portrayal of black life. His numerous published volumes include, "The Weary Blues," "Fine Clothes to the Jew," and "Montage of a Dream Deferred." Hughes earned several awards during his lifetime including: a Guggenheim fellowship, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Grant, and a Spingarn Medal from the NAACP.

Langston Hughes died of heart failure on May 22, 1967.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 5‘Twenty-seven previously unpublished, alphabetically arranged verses about animals, written in 1936. Though humorous and ostensibly non-political, this imaginative romp has a bittersweet undercurrent: ``A lion in a zoo,/Shut up in a cage,/Lives a life/Of smothered rage./A lion in the plain,/Roaming free,/Is happy as ever/A lion can be.'' Children from The Harlem School of the Arts have created brightly painted, three-dimensional clay or paper creatures to accompany the poems; full-color photographs of these sculptures are placed next to the selections. A lowercase letter in script appears on each spread; some letters are superimposed on the text. Ben Vareen's introduction and George P. Cunningham's afterword should help adults appreciate the work; children, however, will need no help in responding to the book's creative spirit. An inspired artistic collaboration.‘Judy Greenfield, Rye Free Reading Room, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

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Booklist Review

Ages 3-6. At his best Hughes wrote with a lyrical simplicity, with humor and heartfelt emotion, that appeals to children. However, these alphabet poems, first written in 1936 and published now for the first time (as part of the Opie Library), are condescending and cute, with forced rhymes and flat imagery ("Mrs. Squirrel / Can look so sweet / When she finds / Her nest is neat"). The editors of a new compilation of Hughes' work [BKL Upfront O 1 94] don't include them with the section of children's poetry; in fact, they include no unpublished poems "most likely because Hughes either never offered them to publishers or because they were rejected by publishers when he offered them." What is best about this small book is the art and design. The illustrations are color photographs of animal models made from papier-mache and other materials; the artists are young grade-school students at the Harlem School of the Arts. The cover is gorgeous, and the book design displays the humor, fantasy, and brilliant color of the kids' work. ~--Hazel Rochman