The Friendship / Mildred D. Taylor
by Mildred Taylor
School Library Journal
Gr 2-6 A hot, humid afternoon in Mississippi in 1933 is the setting for a tense drama and tragic confrontation between Mr. Tom Bee, an elderly black man, and a white store owner, John Wallace. The interaction between the two men portrays how severely the bonds of friendship can be tested against a backdrop of racism, peer pressure, and individual rights. This novella is narrated by Cassie Logan from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Dial, 1976). She and her brothers go to the country store for some medicine for a neighbor. At the store, they are hassled by Wallace's sons. They run into Mr. Bee, who addresses John Wallace by his first name. Blacks are forbidden to do so, but Mr. Bee had saved John's life on more than one occasion, and John had given him permission to call him by his first name. Under pressure and taunting by the men in his store, John reneges on his promise in an explosive and devastating outburst. The characterization is very strong in this brief drama, and the events of this fateful afternoon will be unforgettable. The black-and-white illustrations are noteworthy, and depict the story's mood and action well. This book lends itself well to discussions on various topics pertaining to human relations. Jeanette Lambert, Albuquerque Public Library, N.M.
Copyright 1988 Cahners Business Information, Inc.