Keep Climbing, Girls
  • Keep Climbing, Girls
  • Keep Climbing, Girls

Keep Climbing, Girls

by Beah E. Richards, R. Gregory Christie
     
 

The only way to make a bid
for a girl's equality is to climb right up to the
toppermost bough
of the very tallest tree.

The dynamic ode to girl power was written by noted Afro-American actor, poet, and playwright Beach E. Richards. First published in 1951, her poem is given new life in this edition that includes an introduction

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Overview

The only way to make a bid
for a girl's equality is to climb right up to the
toppermost bough
of the very tallest tree.

The dynamic ode to girl power was written by noted Afro-American actor, poet, and playwright Beach E. Richards. First published in 1951, her poem is given new life in this edition that includes an introduction by LisaGay Hamilton and stunning illustrations by R. Gregory Christie. With its inspirational messsage, this book will empower children with the realization that "the path of life goes up and up/not down!"

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With good humor and love, this poem by the late African-American actress Richards suggests a strategy for girls who believe that boys "have the upper hand." The author asserts that "the only way to make a bid/ for a girl's equality/ is to climb right up to the toppermost bough/ of the very tallest tree." Christie's (Only Passing Through) boldly brushed gouache spreads show the nimble girl in pigtails and a yellow dress, seated high up in a nest of branches, while a concerned Miss Nettie yells from below. First, the woman warns the young heroine of physical harm, then threatens the loss of beauty. "You're... going to have a tomboy's scars." Christie zooms in on the girl at her perch, depicting her reactions to Miss Nettie's cries. Triumphant, calculating, sure of herself, she's a portrait of self-confidence. Miss Nettie's threats bring more scandalized-looking women to her porch, but the girl keeps climbing ("a little girl victorious/ can't hide her childish glee,/ to see Miss Nettie so put out/ that she, a girl, could climb a tree"). Scolded by Miss Nettie that night, the girl bows her head, but the next morning, her thoughtful sideways look at another tree proves she's not cowed: "The moral is: Keep climbing, girls,/ and let no one prevent you!" Sometimes girls have to buck strangers in the battle to succeed; just as often, this tale hints, they have to rebel against those who love them most. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The book opens with an introduction to Beah E. Richards, a performer as well as a poet. This poem was first published in 1951 and its emergence as a picture book, boldly colored and well-presented, works quite well. The message is obvious: Girls should strive to succeed and not let the barriers of convention and sexism stand in the way. This may sometimes require a girl to ignore the rules. The text is not inflammatory but rather is boldly encouraging. A young girl climbing a tree ignores Miss Nettie's admonishments and climbs higher and higher. Miss Nettie is afraid the child will fall and hurt herself but the girl's ambition trumps any fears. And, despite punishment for not behaving as a young lady should, the girl persists. "Though the braids be pulled,/and the ear be tweaked,/t'won't dim the brave adventure." 2006 (orig. 1974), Simon & Schuster, Ages 4 to 8.
—Carolyn Mott Ford
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-In this picture-book rendition of Richards's 1951 poem of the same name, girls are urged to "keep climbing" no matter what obstacles get in the way. Bold gouache illustrations create a beguiling green-and-gold landscape with an irresistible tree and a determined little girl who climbs it higher and higher with every page turn. Stern and frightened Miss Nettie tries coaxing the child out of the tree, using scare tactics of broken necks and taunts of tomboy. "But a little girl victorious/can't hide her childish glee,/to see Miss Nettie so put out/that she, a girl, could climb a tree." An introduction by LisaGay Hamilton gives readers more information about the poem and Richards, an African-American actor, playwright, and poet who set her own sights high and faced plenty of challenges along the way. This work helps to encourage and bolster up young girls as they begin to make their way in the world.-Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
First published in 1951 by the late actress and poet, Keep Climbing, Girls gets renewed energy from the strong gouache images of Christie and the introduction from Hamilton. The story, with its percussive rhyme, is simple: Miss Nettie calls to the girl in her charge to get down out of the tree she's climbed. However, the unnamed little girl already knows "little boys have the upper hand / in this world." Despite Miss Nettie's pleadings, she isn't about to surrender the view from the top of the tallest bough, except on her own terms. Black, brown, gold and green make the bold palette of matte colors and powerful shapes Christie uses to such good effect. Both a period piece and a shout-out of encouragement, this is sure to find a new, responsive audience. (Picture book. 5-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416902645
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
01/03/2006
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,325,876
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD890L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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