One Small Blue Bead


A band of men sat huddled in a cave
Where coals of fire glowed ...

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Hardcover (2nd ed)
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A band of men sat huddled in a cave
Where coals of fire glowed warm and red.
Boy lay curled on a bed of leaves
But he sat up when an old man said: "This thought keeps spinning in my head.
There must be caves just like our own
And other axes made of stone
And other men like me."

Though only Boy shares his dream, the old man leaves the tribe to search for what the world may hold. Boy does the old man's work in his absence and watches hopefully for his return...
For any good thing
Can happen when
The world is full of
Tribes of men
Who know that they have brothers.

First published in 1965 and long out of print, Byrd Baylor's powerful story is newly illustrated with Ronald Himler's vigorous yet tender pictures.

A boy makes it possible for an old man in their primitive tribe to go in search of other men in far-off places.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
PreS Up-- First published in 1965 (Macmillan; o.p.) with illustrations by Symeon Shimin, this title returns with new pictures. Baylor tells in verse the story of a prehistoric boy whose tribe believes that they are the only humans in existence. An old man questions this notion but can set out on a quest of discovery only if someone takes over his work. ``Boy,'' who up to then had contributed little to the groups' welfare, volunteers to take the old man's place. Months go by and at last the old man returns, accompanied by living proof of his hypothesis--a stranger, a boy from a different tribe, who brings with him a turquoise bead. The bead becomes for the tribe, and for readers, the symbol of connection with other human beings. The new edition has fewer pages; thus, the text is crowded on some pages. Shimin depicts a very young child; Himler's boy seems much older, leading readers to wonder how he had avoided work. While Shimin's pictures are largely one color, Himler's are gloriously vivid with brilliant blue skies and sunny earth tones. Striking, however, is not the differences but the similarities in the two editions. The pictures resemble each other greatly in subject matter, in composition, in placement of figures and poses. Himler seems to have used Shimin's original ideas and expanded on them, adding detail with color. Although Shimin's pictures lack the depth of elaboration found here, his human figures almost leap with gracefulness. Himler's people look chunky and stiff. Both editions offer valuable visions. --Ruth Semrau, Lovejoy School, Allen, TX
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684193342
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 3/28/1992
  • Edition description: 2nd ed
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 859,610
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Byrd Baylor was born in Texas and now lives in Arizona. Her earlier books include The Desert Is Theirs, The Way to Start a Day, and Hawk, I'm Your Brother, all Caldecott Honor Books, as well as Everybody Needs a Rock and I'm in Charge of Celebrations.

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