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The tallest tree
Belton, Sandra.
Children's Fiction BELTON

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Belton's (Store-Bought Baby) latest, a hopeful tale of social change, pays tribute to the legendary Paul Robeson, gifted athlete, scholar, actor, baritone and civil rights crusader. The author initially sets a somber scene: in Little Catfish's hometown, shops are boarded up and the Regal Theater, whose marquee once heralded appearances by such stars as Robeson, Duke Ellington and Marian Anderson, is now a community center. Odell Davis, the theater's elderly caretaker, becomes a mentor to Little Catfish, regaling him with tales of Robeson's accomplishments, and paving the way for a rebirth for the town as the Royal is restored, stores reopen and trees are replanted. Belton shifts between a third-person narrator whose measured words recall a honeyed movie voiceover ("And so it happened just that way. Without anybody realizing it at the time, something new on that street got planted") and the more conversationally expressed viewpoints of Little Catfish and an older, rebellious boy. An earnest, if heavy-handed, entreaty to simultaneously look forward and remember past heroes. Ages 8-12. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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