The bell rang

James Ransome

Book - 2019

A slave family is distressed when they discover their son Ben has run away.

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2 / 2 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
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Subjects
Genres
Historical fiction
Picture books
Published
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers [2019]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Item Description
"A Caitlyn Dlouhy Book."
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
ISBN
9781442421134
1442421134
Main Author
James Ransome (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Every dawn begins the same for the enslaved family of four featured in this book: "The bell rings, / and no sun in the sky. / Daddy gathers wood. / Mama cooks. / We eat." The father, mother, and son go to work in the fields, while the daughter spends her days with the younger children. One morning, her brother presents his sister with a handmade doll, a kiss, and a "good-bye." The next day, the family discovers that Ben has run away. Tears, fear, and sorrow overtake the family as they wonder about the fate of their beloved son and brother. Beautifully rendered acrylic paintings reveal the closeness of the family, whose pleasure at being together is evident. The richly colored vignettes in Coretta Scott King Award–winning Ransome's single- and double-page-spread paintings clearly picture the emotions felt by the family and the day-to-day monotony of their lives. Swallows are seen flying on the endpapers and over the Sunday prayer gathering, signaling the freedom the family hopes Ben has achieved. The last illustration shows the girl looking at the detested bell, leaving readers to wonder if she is thinking of the day she might choose to run away also. A powerful tale of slavery and its two terrible options: stay or run. Grades K-3. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Bold, painterly spreads by Ransome (Before She Was Harriet) give shape to the lives of a slave family whose days are ruled by the overseer's bell. On Monday, "The bell rings,/ and no sun in the sky./ Daddy gathers wood./ Mama cooks." Daddy; Mama; their son, Ben; and the narrator, Ben's little sister, sit close and share a meal. On Wednesday, Ben gives his sister a kiss and a handmade doll, whispering "Good-bye" before walking away with two companions. Thursday, the family realizes that Ben is really gone. "Overseer comes/ to our cabin./ Then dogs come./ Overseer hits Mama,/ then Daddy." The other boys are found, but not Ben: "We pray/ Ben made it./ Free like the birds." In an image of startling force, a flying swallow is seen darting off the last, blank page. Stories about escaping slaves often follow the journeys of those leaving; this one imagines what life was like for a family left behind. The recurring image of the bell throughout each day underscores the way slaves' lives were continually regimented and surveilled. Ransome's gracefully sculpted figures give Ben's family heroic stature; his story makes their hunger for freedom palpable. Ages 4–8. (Jan.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A slave family is distressed when they discover their son Ben has run away.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A young slave girl witnesses the heartbreak and hopefulness of her family and their plantation community when her brother escapes for freedom. By the Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator of Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt. 40,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Recipient of a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor AwardA Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of 2019A young slave girl witnesses the heartbreak and hopefulness of her family and their plantation community when her brother escapes for freedom in this brilliantly conceived picture book by Coretta Scott King Award winner James E. Ransome.Every single morning, the overseer of the plantation rings the bell. Daddy gathers wood. Mama cooks. Ben and the other slaves go out to work. Each day is the same. Full of grueling work and sweltering heat. Every day, except one, when the bell rings and Ben is nowhere to be found. Because Ben ran. Yet, despite their fear and sadness, his family remains hopeful that maybe, just maybe, he made it North. That he is free.An ode to hope and a powerful tribute to the courage of those who ran for freedom, The Bell Rang is a stunning reminder that our past can never be forgotten.