Reviews for No More! : Stories and Songs of Slave Resistance


Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 February 2002
Gr. 4-7. As Virginia Hamilton did in Many Thousand Gone (1993), Rappaport has collected slave narratives, biographies, and songs that tell the history of resistance from the Middle Passage to the plantation and then the Underground Railroad and the Civil War. There are episodes about the famous (Frederick Douglass' triumphant fight with the "nigger-breaker," for example) and about the secret rebellion of ordinary field workers. She also includes trickster tales and words and music for several songs--among them, "Go Down Moses." Rappaport retells the stories in short, present-tense episodes and uses some composite characters, so this doesn't have the authenticity of Hamilton's direct excerpts from Equiano's autobiography and other first-person narratives. But the research is documented, and younger readers can start with the experiences of ordinary people and then go on to the fuller histories listed in the bibliography. Evans' large, dramatic oil paintings show both the suffering and the protest, as in one unforgettable close-up of a captured runaway in irons, his eyes closed, his head unbowed. ((Reviewed February 15, 2002)) Copyright 2002 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2002 Fall
Tracing the African-American experience from the Middle Passage to the Thirteenth Amendment, the minimal text links many eloquent examples of resistance, both overt and concealed. Equally eloquent are Evans's powerful paintings. Many figures are heroic in scale, their eyes gleaming with intelligence and determination. This is a handsome and inspiring book. Bib., ind. Copyright 2002 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2002 #2
"My pa was never slave," declares Harriet Wheatley in this book's keynote poem. "And those / Who thought they made him slave, didn't / Understand / The word." Tracing the African-American experience from the Middle Passage to the Thirteenth Amendment, Rappaport's minimal text links many such eloquent examples of unquenchable resistance, both overt and concealed. There were folktales in which "Old Marsa" is outwitted; the dual meaning of such spirituals as "Go Down Moses"; escapes and rebellions; and stories of both historical characters (Suzie King Taylor learned the forbidden skill of reading) and representative composites ("Peppel" leaps from a slave ship only to accept rescue by his captors). Equally eloquent are Evans's powerful paintings. Many of his figures are heroic in scale, their eyes gleaming with intelligence and determination. Others have a stalwart piety bespeaking faith in an adopted Christian God, a faith that also served as a metaphor for earthly freedom ("Steal Away to Jesus"). Rappaport provides an introduction and index and lists some sources, but it's not clear where all her material originated. Who, for example, was (or is) Harriet Wheatley? Still, this is a handsome and inspiring book, a fine tribute to the indomitability of countless enslaved people against terrible odds. Copyright 2002 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2002 January #1
A poem about the impossibility of enslaving the mind and soul of a person in chains sets the tone for this stunning collection of stories and songs in tribute to slave resistance in America. Working chronologically, Rappaport (Martin's Big Words, 2001, etc.) is especially interested in the use of song as an instrument of resistance, and she includes well-known spirituals such as Go Down, Moses as well as more obscure songs whose tunes have been long forgotten. Powerful lines such as "Run, nigger, run, patroller'll ketch ya / Hit ya thirty-nine and swear he didn't tech ya" tell of unspeakable cruelty and despair; others of defiance and the hope of deliverance. Ranging in acts of rebellion, from planting less corn to learning to read, slave narratives comprise the bulk of the text. Vignettes are included from the lives of Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, John Scobell, Suzie King Taylor, and others who resisted their enslavement physically, intellectually, or spiritually. Rappaport creates several characters that are composites of actual slaves, which seems both unnecessary and potentially confusing when juxtaposed with actual historical figures. Nevertheless, the focus on resistance works well, and Evans's bold, dramatic oils portray the subject unflinchingly. Oversized pages of thick stock give full range to the power of his art. An excellent account of the many ways in which slaves participated in bringing down the greatest evil in our nation's history. (author's note, chronology of important events, bibliography, recommended reading, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2002 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2001 December #3
Weaving together first-person accounts by familiar historical figures, traditional black spirituals and vignettes featuring fictional composites of actual people, Rappaport (Freedom River) creates an affecting, multitextured chronicle of slavery in America. Throughout, the author underscores the courage, resilience and resolve of those held captive. Writing in the present tense, Rappaport brings an immediacy to such events as the failed attempt by a group of Africans to revolt against their captors during the Middle Passage; Frederick Douglass's bold defiance of his vicious master, a "nigger-breaker"; and the daring work of John Scobell, a runaway slave who became a Union spy during the Civil War. Interspersed with anecdotes of specific historical incidents are passages affording glimpses of the captives' daily lives, as in descriptions of "hush harbors," spots deep in the woods where they met clandestinely to worship; and the secret schools at which black children learned to read and write. The symbolic and realistic converge effectively in Evans's (Osceola) often emotion-charged oil paintings, which capture both the pain and the triumph at the heart of this trenchant compilation. Ages 9-12. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2002 February
Gr 4-8-Through spirituals, poems, folktales, and firsthand slave narratives, this brief, skillfully woven history of African-American slavery emphasizes the many forms of resistance and rebellion used by brave individuals who struggled against their condition. Some of the well-known incidents included are Nat Turner's rebellion, Frederick Douglass's fight against a "nigger-breaker," and Harriet Tubman's many trips on the Underground Railroad. Less-famous stories are those of Caroline, who escaped with her children from Kentucky to Indiana by following the Drinking Gourd through swamps and forests, and of Suzie King Taylor, whose grandmother risked severe punishment to send her to a secret school run by a free black woman. There are also fictitious accounts, such as that of Peppel, a composite of the many who jumped overboard from slave ships because they preferred to die free rather than live as slaves. The importance of religion as a vehicle of resistance and hope is demonstrated by the spirituals "Gospel Train," "Go Down Moses," "Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel?" and "Steal Away to Jesus." Evans's large, bold, dramatic oil paintings capture the despair, fear, and hope of the slaves. Taken together, the text and illustrations make a powerful statement about the horrors of this institution, its traumatic effect on those who endured it, and the remarkable ability of the human spirit to face such adversity with courage and defiance.-Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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