Strawbeater's Thanksgiving

Overview

During the time of slavery, the men, women, and children who had worked so hard bringing in the harvest were sometimes allowed one night to celebrate the completion of their wearisome tasks. This is the story of one of those nights.

Determined to be the strawbeater during the corn shucking party, Jess, a small young slave boy, wrestles a bigger, stronger boy for the honor.

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Rosales, Meodye, and Rosales, Melodye 1998 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. cover small tear near top just from shelfwear Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 32 p. ... Contains: Illustrations. Audience: Children/juvenile. Read more Show Less

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Overview

During the time of slavery, the men, women, and children who had worked so hard bringing in the harvest were sometimes allowed one night to celebrate the completion of their wearisome tasks. This is the story of one of those nights.

Determined to be the strawbeater during the corn shucking party, Jess, a small young slave boy, wrestles a bigger, stronger boy for the honor.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
Seven-year-old Jess announces to his mother that he wants to be Ole Fiddler's strawbeater at the corn-shucking party that night. A strawbeater is a musician who stands behind a fiddler and beats on the strings while the fiddle is being played. Ole Fiddler announces that 'the toughest rassling boy will be strawbeater tonight.' Armed with his mama's belief in him, Jess fights Nathaniel, a boy much bigger than he is, and wins the honor. The story is based on slave narratives, and the principal sources are given. An author's note prominently placed in the front of the book talks about corn shuckings and defines the term strawbeater. The warm reds, golds and browns evoke not only the autumn season but also the love between mother and son. Rosales is especially good at faces and their expressions, adding a wonderful dimension to the story. The term 'thanksgiving' is used broadly here.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-In this tale based on slave narratives, Smalls presents little-known traditions and unfamiliar figures of speech. At the annual corn-shucking party, seven-year-old Jess longs to be the "strawbeater" who, according to the author's note, "stands behind a fiddler, reaches around his left shoulder, and beats on the strings while the fiddle is being played, in the manner of a snare drum." He must wrestle Nathaniel, a bigger boy, for the honor, and when he is chosen for his tenacity rather than his brawn, the festivities begin. There is dancing, singing, good-natured competition, and plenty of food. The story line is somewhat stilted and would require some historical background to be fully appreciated. Rosales's vibrant, full-color oil paintings carry the emotion and spirit of the day. The bright, bold reds and browns add a sense of power and strength. This is not as satisfying as Patricia and Fredrick McKissack's Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters (Scholastic, 1994), but it helps to fill out the life stories of slaves and presents an interesting glimpse of a harvest celebration of the period.-Beth Tegart, Oneida City Schools, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Expressive, beautifully colored realistic paintings depict the indomitable spirit of slaves after harvest when it was corn-shucking time. Smalls (Because You're Lucky) evokes a night of celebration and the dreams of a seven-year-old boy, Jess, who fights a larger boy, Nathaniel, for the honor of being the strawbeater—helping the fiddler by beating on the instrument with straw during the dancing. A sleepy Jess is carried home by his mother at the end of the evening, her 'manchild,' who has the will and determination to survive anything—perhaps even slavery. Smalls conveys the festivities without idealizing them—there are patrollers accompanying the slaves to an event that, for all the dancing and eating, is work. Ages 7 - 10.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316798662
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 9/28/1998
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 570L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.78 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 0.35 (d)

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