Reviews for Shaking Bag


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 April 2000
Ages 5^-9. Annie Mae leads a fine life with her faithful dog in a run-down cabin. There's not much in the way of food, but they get by--and there's always enough for Annie Mae's many bird friends. One evening when the cupboard is almost bare, a man knocks at the door asking for a place to lay his head. Annie Mae offers Raven Reed what little she has. Seeing her generous spirit, Raven shakes the magic sack he totes; out spills food, firewood, extra furniture, and whatever Annie needs. The next day he's gone, but he has left the shaking bag for Annie Mae. Although she never sees him again, she occasionally catches a glimpse of his eyes in the eyes of a visiting bird. The folk art, strikingly textured and colorful, gives this fable a strong sense of place and culture. Goodness of the soul has never looked so fresh. ((Reviewed April 1, 2000)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2000 Fall
Generosity is abundantly rewarded in this original folkloric tale. Miss Annie Mae always feeds the birds in her yard, even when she has little to eat herself. One night a young stranger named Raven Reed appears on her doorstep and, shaking her empty birdseed sack, provides her with all she needs. Strong, earthy, and with touches of humor, the art is a good match for a well-honed narrative. Copyright 2000 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2000 #4
Generosity is abundantly rewarded in this original folkloric tale echoing stories as diverse as Eleanor Farjeon's "Mrs. Malone" and the Greek myth of Baucis and Philemon. Miss Annie Mae has given five ravens the last of the seed she keeps for the birds she "never lets go hungry," so, though she only has three slices of bread left for herself and her dog, she saves one for the birds to eat on the morrow. Then "Raven Reed" appears on her doorstep-a young stranger with "deep dark eyes [that] seemed to stare into [her] soul...eyes young of age but ancient of spirit." Taking him in, she offers him her last crust, but he can do better. Shaking up her empty birdseed sack, he produces not only food but also firewood, extra chairs, and a table. Next morning, Miss Annie Mae offers the visitor the still-magical sack as thanks, but he leaves it with her: "You will never go hungry." As the illustrations make clear, Raven Reed is one of the ravens she fed the previous evening; reverting to his true form, he rejoins his fellows. Robinson combines a variety of techniques-painterly brush strokes, bold outlines, cross-hatching, energetic perspectives, patchworks of vibrant color-to create full-bleed illustrations that set the story in old-time rural America and portray Raven and Miss Annie Mae as African Americans with huge, competent hands and eloquent eyes. Strong, earthy, and with touches of humor (the sack spews forth almost as many bottles of catsup and mustard as it does hot dogs), the art is a good match for a well-honed narrative. j.r.l. Copyright 2000 Horn Book Magazine.

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Kirkus Reviews 2000 March #2
A new twist on the old theme of kindness rewarded is enlivened by equally magical illustrations. Miss Annie Mae usually manages to scrape together a little food to share with her wild bird friends. But one day, when the poor woman's old cloth bag is empty, a mysterious young man named Raven Reed comes to her door. Every time Miss Annie Mae attempts to share her meager possessions with him, Raven reaches in the bag and magically pulls out the things she needs most: chairs, food, fire wood, and even a new table. They share the repast and talk all night. When she looks into his face, ``She saw eyes that were young of age but ancient of spirit.'' At his departure, he hands her back the sack explaining that, because of her generosity, the sack will never be empty. He leaves in a whirlwind, and when the dust clears, Miss Annie Mae sees a raven with familiar eyes. Robinson's paintings are a mix of bold strokes of oil paint and fine ink cross hatching, and maybe even include some watercolor. Bright and colorful, their folksy style perfectly suits Battle-Lavert's relaxed story-telling style. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright 2000 Kirkus Reviews

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Library Talk Reviews 2000 November
"Shake it up! Shake it up! All around!" These magical words are central to this folklore story of an old woman whose generosity and kindness is returned tenfold. In lyrical and folktale-like text the author tells the story of Miss Annie Mae, who, although pathetically poor, generously shares the last seeds from her seed bag with five ravens. Just when Annie Mae doesn't know where her next meal is coming from, along comes a young man with an ancient soul, named Raven Reed, who shakes the seed bag and brings forth the food, fire, and furniture needed by Annie Mae. Raven Reed leaves the next morning, but before he leaves he explains to Miss Annie Mae that the shaking bag will always bring forth the things she needs. As the years pass Miss Annie Mae lives comfortably and continues to happily feed her beloved birds. She occasionally glimpses the ancient soul of Raven Reed in the eyes of the birds she so dearly loves. Robinson's bold and irregular illustrations bring this folktale to life. This story is a delightful lesson about the magic of generosity and kindness. Recommended. Betsy Barnett, Media Specialist, Eads (Colorado) School District © 2000 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2000 April
K-Gr 4-An old African-American woman lives in her run-down house with only her dog, Effie Lucille. Miss Annie Mae never lets the birds in her yard go hungry, even if it means giving up her last crust of bread. One day, five ravens arrive and receive the last few seeds from her feeding bag. Later, a young traveler called Raven Reed shows up seeking shelter. She offers him the last of her food and her only chair, but Raven produces the feed bag and says, "Shake it up! Shake it up! All around!" to produce firewood, food, a bigger table, and two extra chairs. Next morning, he leaves the bag for her so that she'll never be hungry again. Battle-Lavert takes the folklore motif of kindness to a stranger and spins a brilliant, beautifully written original tale. The rhythmic language demands to be read aloud, and children will enjoy chiming in on Raven's magical chant. The author tells the story in a straightforward manner that is elegant in its sheer simplicity. Robinson's exuberant paintings, done with rich, broad brushstrokes, are full of energy. The figures, knobby and exaggerated with oversized hands, and the rustic house and furnishings reinforce the folksy tone. Touches of color effectively demonstrate how the old woman brightens her somewhat bleak surroundings, and the chick in her pocket is a delightful touch. This fresh, vigorous tale is too good to miss.-Donna L. Scanlon, Lancaster County Library, PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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