Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl

by Virginia Hamilton and James Ransome

The late Virginia Hamilton excelled at many types of storytelling, including retelling... read more

The late Virginia Hamilton excelled at many types of storytelling, including retelling traditional African American tales in dialects that reflect specific aspects of the African American oral tradition. This newly published Brer Rabbit story was written by Hamilton in the Gullah dialect of the South Carolina Sea Islands. In the story, crafty Bruh Rabbit has been eating Bruh Wolf’s crops—it’s much easier than planting and tending his own. Bruh Wolf’s “scarey-crow” doesn’t scare Bruh Rabbit, so Wolf makes a Tar Baby Girl—a rabbit image coated in tar—to catch that wily rabbit once and for all. As usual, Bruh Wolf’s comeuppance is shortlived in this richly written, comical story that reads well silently or aloud. Information about the significance of Brer Rabbit stories in African American history is provided along with a brief description of some of the Gullah terms that enliven the superbly told tale. James Ransome’s lively paintings are in perfect step with the lighthearted spirit of the story. (Ages 6–9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2004

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