Way Up and Over Everything
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Way Up and Over Everything

by Jude Daly, Alice McGill
     
 

My great-grandmama’s mama told her and she told me this story about a long time ago . . .

So begins this account of the author’s great-great-grandmother Jane, and how she meets a slave new to the plantation, a slave who would prove to have magical powers . . . created by the wish for freedom. Alice McGill remembers this story, passed down in her

Overview


My great-grandmama’s mama told her and she told me this story about a long time ago . . .

So begins this account of the author’s great-great-grandmother Jane, and how she meets a slave new to the plantation, a slave who would prove to have magical powers . . . created by the wish for freedom. Alice McGill remembers this story, passed down in her family through the generations, from her childhood and how her greatgrandmother told it to her “as if unveiling a great, wonderful secret. My siblings and I believed that certain Africans shared this gift of taking to the air—‘way up and over everything.’”

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Daly's delicate and elongated figures...present a bird's-eye view of the story." Booklist Feb 1, 2008 Booklist, ALA

"It's a tale that will have profound effect." Kirkus Reviews 05/15/08 Kirkus Reviews

"Kids will be fascinated by this classic." Starred Review Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"McGill’s dramatic pacing, vivid details, and pungent narrative voice give the story immediacy." Horn Book, Starred

"Inspiring and informative." School Library Journal, Starred

Children's Literature - Jessica Kilpatrick
This picture book retells an old folk tale that has been passed down through McGill's family for many years. The story tells of the author's great-grandmama's mama, Jane, who was a slave on a plantation in Georgia owned by Ol' man Deboreaux. In 1842, when Jane was about sixteen, Ol' man Deboreaux bought five new slaves from a trader in Charleston: two men and three women. After the first few days of training, the slaves were then sent out into the fields to work. When it was time for dinner that evening, the new slaves had vanished. Ol' man Deboreaux and the overseer set out to find the new slaves. When they finally caught up with them, they were standing in a circle holding hands, chanting on the top of a hill. Just as the overseer ran up the hill, they began to lift off of their feet into the sky as if they were climbing steps to freedom. Jane witnessed this occurrence, and, although her master swore her to secrecy, she began to retell the story, and it has been passed on ever since. Jude Daly's colorful illustrations accurately portray the story as it is told. The text of the story was not very advanced but was descriptive enough that, if there were no pictures, the reader could see them in his or her mind. This story would also make a good addition to a history, folk tale lesson, or both, considering that it talks about slavery but is a folk tale that has been passed on through several generations. The illustrations captivate the reader's imagination with the colorful artwork, and the characters are juvenile enough to draw in young readers but also realistic enough to help them understand the storyline by just looking at pictures. Reviewer: Jessica Kilpatrick
School Library Journal

Gr 1-5

Like Virginia Hamilton's The People Could Fly (Knopf, 2004), this folktale tells the story of slaves who magically slip off the bonds of oppression by simply soaring "way up and over everything." As related by a slave named Jane's great-great granddaughter, it is the tale of five dignified and taciturn new slaves who are taken to a Georgia cotton plantation in 1842. The Africans are given "American" names, but one young man whispers to Jane, "Edet, Edet" as though introducing himself. After a day's brutal work, the newcomers disappear from the eating-time crowd. Dogs are brought out to trail them, and Jane creeps along behind. At the top of a hill, she sees the Africans holding hands, chanting, and whirling in a circle, then stepping into the air, while master and overseer try in vain to stop them. In a dramatic final scene, Edet turns and proudly shouts his African name before flying off "beyond the clouds." Though warned by her master never to share what she has witnessed, Jane, of course, does share. As explained in an afterword, this is a retelling of a "flying story" that has been passed down in the author's family for generations. Written in colloquial language, the tale is enhanced by a spare yet elegant design and delicate folk-art-like watercolor illustrations. Inspiring and informative.-Amy Rowland, Guggenheim Elementary School, Port Washington, NY

Kirkus Reviews
The small, enigmatic figures in Daly's folk-style landscape paintings add to the air of mystery infusing this spare rendition of "The People Could Fly," retold here in a version handed down from storyteller McGill's slave-born ancestor. The five serene new arrivals at Ol' Man Deboreaux's plantation, just off the boat from Africa, barely speak a word, keep to themselves-and, when the first evening's meal is over, vanish. Young Jane trails the furious slave-owner and his dogs out into the fields, where she sees all five rise into the air "like [they were] climbing a ladder." The last, "the one who had smiled at my great-grandmama's mama, Jane . . . kept treading air with arms like wings. His feet moved like tail feathers and he sailed beyond the clouds, way up and over everything." Despite Deboreaux's threats to sell her down the river if she doesn't keep silent, she returns to tell the story, both before and after she escapes to freedom with her children. It's a tale that will have a profound effect. (author's note) (Picture book/folktale. 7-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618387960
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
03/21/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
(w) x (h) x 0.38(d)
Lexile:
AD730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author


Alice McGill is an award-winning author and professional storyteller. Among her books is the ALA Notable Molly Bannaky, winner of the 2000 IRA Picture Book Award and the 2000 Jane Addams Award. Alice McGill has toured to collect and tell stories in thirty-nine states, Canada, the West Indies, and South Africa. She lives with her husband in Columbia, Maryland.

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