Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Belle, the Last Mule at Gee's Bend by Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Bettye Stroud

Did you know that two mules were specially selected to pull Martin Luther King's casket from Ebenezer Baptist Church to Morehouse College? I had no idea. And that Doctor King was the one who wished to have "mules pull the farm wagon that would hold his burial casket"? (If my mother reads this entry, she will likely mutter because I think I just goofed on the order of the quotation marks and the question mark. None of it looks right: sorry about that.) Thank goodness for these authors who knew I for one needed to know about this story; it is spectacular.

Belle, the Last Mule at Gees' Bend starts as a story of a boy in the small town of Camden, Alabama waiting for his mom to come home. He notices this mule eating greens in a garden and questions a woman sitting near him about the freedom to graze that this mule has. She proceeds to tell the story of Dr. King's visits to Camden years before, about how he inspired residents to take gigantic risks and register to vote: in Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement! Belle, along with a number of other mules, pulled adults who wanted to register across the river when a huge flood came and made the river uncrossable. The story continues with the author framing how Belle and one other mule, Ada, were the chosen ones and selected to pull the casket.

I totally loved this book. The storyline surprised me, I loved the illustrations, I learned something brand new, and I fell more in love with historical fiction. Brilliant, simply brilliant! One of the authors also wrote Ruth and The Green Book, a picture book that I reviewed here Go to your library or fave bookstore and pick up this wonderful book. And then email me and tell me what you think.

No comments:

Post a Comment