The pied piper of…Harlem!

February 12, 2010 at 11:48 am

The Steel Pan Man of Harlem, written and illustrated by Colin Bootman; published by Carolrhoda Books, Minneapolis; 2009.

The end pages introduce us to the Harlem Renaissance, probably around the end of the era in the early 1930s by the look of the automobiles.  Indeed, as the story opens, we find ourselves in Harlem, a neighborhood overrun by rats.  One night, a mystery man disembarks a train with a steel drum.  His music is hypnotic, for humans and rats alike.  The Steel Pan Man reaches an agreement with the Mayor: He’ll receive $1 million if he can get rid of all the rats.  Sure enough, his sweet music charms the rats out of town, but leaves the biggest rat behind, Mr. Mayor himself.  With the promise broken, the music starts anew, the sweetest music yet, and the Mayor is unable to stop dancing and he fulfills his promise to the Steel Pan Man.  The story ends with both Mayor and mysterious stranger disappearing, never to be heard from again.

Like the end pages, the illustrations help tell the story.  Faces, especially, will help children fill in the blanks.  The little bits of humorous elements on each page will delight everyone who looks at this book.  Bootman’s story is a riff on the Pied Piper of Hamelin story.  He has really done a fine job of updating the story and creating a multi-cultural rendition.

Like I recommended with a variety of Cinderalla stories retold, I would include this in a display or pathfinder about various version of the Pied Piper story, maybe even for St. Patrick’s Day!


Entry filed under: Folklore or Fairy Tales, Multicultural Picture Book. Tags: , , , , .

My Abuelita is a great storyteller Baby love…

a librarian's library of plans & resources for storytimes, programs & readers' advisory
Disclaimers: Per the FTC regulations, please note that sometimes books are received for review for free by publishers or authors. All books (ARCs, galleys, library or purchased) will be reviewed fairly; no special consideration is given to anything reviewed on this blog. In addition, I make every attempt to avoid spoilers. Sometimes they happen inadvertently or because they are important to defend a review; not all spoilers have been removed or fixed. This disclaimer is a general statement included as a warning to readers.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


RSS Sesame Street Podcasts

  • Meet Julia
  • Happy Valentine's Day
  • Grover Can Do it
  • Let's Dance
  • Furry Friends Forever

%d bloggers like this: