Reviews for Seven Spools of Thread : A Kwanzaa Story


Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 September 2000
Ages 5^-8. In The Seven Days of Kwanzaa: How to Celebrate Them (1994), the author offered ideas, including crafts and recipes, for celebrating the cultural holiday. This latest title is an original folktale that will help introduce children to the holiday's seven principles, while also suggesting how Kente cloth was first created. In a Ghanian village, a father's will commands that his seven argumentative sons must make gold from silk thread "by the time the moon rises," without fighting. Working together, the brothers create a tapestry of Kente cloth, the first multicolored cloth the village has seen, which they sell to the king's treasurer for gold, before returning to their village to farm and live harmoniously. Well-paced, the story incorporates the Kwanzaa values without spelling them out too much. Minter's attractively composed, dramatic painted linocuts, with strong community images and lively, silhouetted figures, root the story in a sun-drenched, magical landscape that will draw children even after repeated readings. An introductory section, with glossary and pronunciation guide explaining the principles, and an appended craft activity round out the volume. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2001 Spring
This story is based on the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Seven quarrelsome brothers from a small Ghanaian village are a source of disappointment to their father. When he dies, he leaves his sons a challenge to earn his inheritance. They must work together to make gold out of silk thread; if they argue and fail, they receive nothing. Vibrant linoleum block prints accompany the rhythmic text, which concludes with instructions on weaving Kente-style cloth. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2000 October #2
Any family with seven sons must hear plenty of bickering, but the seven Ashanti brothers in this family quarrel from dawn to dusk and into the night. Their father leaves them a legacy in more than material terms, with the requirement that they must spin seven spools of thread (each in a different shade) into gold in only one day--with no arguing. Medearis has crafted an original story with the timeless tone of a traditional folktale, subtly incorporating the seven principles of Kwanzaa into her plot. The brothers learn to cooperate in both words and deeds, weaving their seven colors of silken thread into multicolored cloth so beautiful it is purchased for the king (with a bag of gold, of course). Demonstrating the Kwanzaa principle of cooperative economics, the brothers teach their whole village to weave the patterned fabric known as kente cloth. Minter's striking linoleum block-print illustrations complement the story perfectly, with the seven decidedly different brothers shown in silhouette against jewel-bright backgrounds full of intriguing details of African village life. The history and seven principles of Kwanzaa are clearly explained in the introduction; directions for making a simple loom from straws and weaving a cloth belt are included in an appendix. This added information as well as the satisfying story will make this beautifully designed book a valuable selection for elementary-school teachers and librarians. A fine choice for a Kwanzaa gift, and a first choice for most school and public-library collections. (Picture book. 6-10) Copyright 200 Kirkus Reviews

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