Rosa Parks refusal to give up her seat on the bus is simply the beginning of a hound dogs song. A hound dog tells the story of the Montgomery bus boycott. Jim Crow is alive and well in the form of an angry bird. Brian Pinkney brings the Jim Crow to life with swirls of darkness covering the pages. What I really enjoyed about Boycott Blues is being given a number. Everyone has heard of Rosa Parks (at least I hope so) and the Montgomery boycott. However, the length of the boycott is hardly ever discussed, or maybe it is and I don't attention. Andrea Davis Pinkney has given us something solid to hold onto, 382 days. That's a long time, hell today I was tempted to take a bus three blocks out of pure laziness. If 382 days feels like a long time to you, imagine what it will feel like to a child. A lot can be done with that number, it can be broken down into months, seasons, and birthdays to name a few. Brain Pinkney's illustrations gives faces to the feet. Below the Jim Crow bird and beside the empty buses we see people walking and walking and walking, in all types of weather. Brain Pinkney draws the hound dog sometimes in the shadows or a protector in the sky but always strumming his guitar. Boycott Blues has a great musical tempo a story teller could do wonders with.
Time to share
As strong as we were, some wanted to quit. And child, child,
I can't say I blamed them. After all, you've been walking from December to November, a bus begins to look like sweet temptation. Even if it means riding in the back. Even if Jim Crow sits in your lap. When I saw somebody start to go down that road, when I heard somebody say, "What's the use? I'm paying my dime to ride," I played my guitar as loud as I could to drown out Jim Crow's peck, peck,peck. To stir up a rhythm worth following. To somehow soften those boycott blues.