Sam and the Tigers by Julius Lester

Title: Sam and the Tigers

Author: Julius Lester

Illustrator: Jerry Pinkney

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers

Published Date: 1996

In a place call Sam-sam-sa-mara, where everyone is named Sam, there is a young boy who wants to dress himself. His parents let him pick out his own clothes. In this place all animals and people talk and do business together. The next day he meets up with 5 Tigers. All wanting to eat him, but instead he gives each a piece of clothing. Sam finds them fighting over who looks the best. While they fight, he takes his clothes back! Already fighting, they become even angrier. They run so fast that they turn into butter! Sam takes the butter and asks his mom to make pancakes. There are so many pancakes that all the neighbors come over. They all have tons of pancakes, Sam eats 169!

From reading the details of where the story comes from, this is a retelling of Little Black Samba. This was the first story to feature a black character. The fantastical story was loved by many white people, because it made the young black boy look weaker. Lester and Pinkney have taken this story and revamped it to make it what it should have been; a story glorifying the imagination and a proud young black boy that doesn’t have any demeaning qualities.

Happy Reading!



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