Once upon a time there was a place called Sam-sam-sa-mara, where the animals and the people lived and worked together like they didn't know they weren't supposed to. There was a little boy in Sam-sam-sa-mara named Sam...So begins this delightful telling of one of the most controversial books in children's literature, Little Black Sambo. Julius Lester and Jerry Pinkney reveal at the heart of this story a lively and charming tale of a little boy who triumphs over several hungry tigers.
Booklist, in a review of Sam and the Tigers, wrote "Lester and Pinkney have stripped away the ugly racism and retold the story in a new way. .. Adults will be arguing about this book for months, in print and on the Internet, and Lester's afterword is an excellent place to start the discussion. As for kids, they'll love the book about a child hero who can outwit tigers." School Library Journal wrote "Lester and Pinkney reclaim "Little Black Sambo," the tale of a black child who outwits a pack of bullying tigers, from its negative, racist connotations."
Publishers Weekly gave a starred review and found it "A hip and hilarious retelling that marries the essence of the original with an innovative vision of its own", while the New York Times was critical, writing "Mr. Lester has overloaded the simple structure with much unnecessary baggage." and calling it an "overlong retelling"
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