Horn Book Guide Reviews

The late Virginia Hamilton's funny, satisfying version of the old trickster tale uses the phrasings and rhythm of Gullah speech: ""Rabbit, him, is tricky-some--about to fool a body and not do a lick of work himself."" Her retelling is zesty and conversational, making a great read-aloud. Ransome uses watercolors to depict the green farm and countryside. Though wearing human clothing, the animal characters are otherwise realistically depicted. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews

The old trickster tale of the thieving rabbit who gets stuck to a tar baby receives a fresh retelling from the late Virginia Hamilton. Her version uses the phrasings and rhythm of Gullah speech: "Rabbit, him, is tricky-some--about to fool a body and not do a lick of work himself." Lazy Bruh Rabbit relies on Wolf's hard work for his food, living off of his corn one year and his peanuts the next. In frustration, Bruh Wolf makes a "scarey-crow," but Rabbit isn't fooled and knocks it over. Bruh Wolf has better success when he builds his next scarecrow out of tar, fashioned to look like a girl rabbit. Bruh Rabbit is offended when the Tar Baby Girl won't answer him: "Girl! Speak to me! If you don't, I'll knock you. Knock you with my right paw, and you'll think it's thunder!" Bruh Rabbit gets all four paws stuck to the tar baby, and even gets his nose stuck when he tries to bite her, but he triumphs in the end by outwitting Bruh Wolf once more. Hamilton's retelling is zesty and conversational, making a great read-aloud. Ransome uses watercolors to depict the green farm and countryside by "dayclean" and by moonlight. Though wearing human clothing, the animal characters are otherwise realistically depicted, Bruh Wolf, for instance, looking like an actual wolf even as he's stirring a bucket of tar. Hamilton and Ransome together have created a funny, satisfying version of a favorite old Southern story. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Hamilton posthumously revives this archetypal Brer Rabbit tale with a Gullah-inflected rendition, to which Ransome supplies Jerry Pinkney-influenced watercolor scenes of clothed, but naturalistically rendered animals. Finding evidence that lazy Bruh Rabbit's been helping himself to his hard-won crops, Bruh Wolf sets up a rag scarecrow, which fools Bruh Rabbit not a bit, then a tarry, long-eared doe whose silence irritates Rabbit into attacking: "Missy Girl, keeping her mouth shut. Bruh Rabbit took a bite. GUNK! His nose stuck! He sure was one rabbit stuck on somebody!" Young readers may wonder how Bruh Wolf can be canny enough to construct the trap, yet foolish enough to think that chucking his cagey captive into a briar patch would be a punishment-but, that's how the story goes, and the wolf seems only mildly peeved in the final scene. A note on the tale, and on Bruh Rabbit as a character, caps this handsome edition, seemingly destined to become the standard one in libraries. (Picture book/folk tale. 7-9) Copyright Kirkus 2003 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

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.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews

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 Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews

K-Gr 4-This economic retelling of the classic story invokes the Gullah speech of the South Carolina Sea Islands. Detailing fertile landscapes and wily characters, Ransome's luminous watercolors are as rich as the literary tradition they draw on. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.