By: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by: London Ladd
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Children's Books
Publication Date: March 2010
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: April 2010
A little girl with pigtails sat pensively on a fence with her little brown toes on the bottom rung. Her "Mama" was really her grandmother, Hattie Mae, because her real mother was a maid and her "Daddy was a soldier passing through." She was a Mississippi girl and there wasn't much for her in a ramshackle place, but Mama gave her a lot of love and guidance. There were lots of chores for her to do including cleaning out the slop jar because there was no indoor plumbing. A little farm girl had lots of things to do, including holding out her hand with grains of corn so they would drop to the ground and the chickens could peck at them. "God only knew what would become of that child," a little girl named Oprah.
Church on Sunday was an all day affair because He was important to Hattie Mae, a woman who "leaned on the Lord." The Bible was her book and Oprah learned to read from it at an early age. She was a precocious little girl and even began speaking in church. Some called her gifted, but she was bullied by the other children who called her "Miss Jesus or the Preacher." It wasn't easy for a little "chatterbox," but Oprah had her gifts and Hattie Mae. What would become of this little dreamer? Was there something or someone special waiting for her in life?
This was a beautiful portrait of a young, determined little girl whose destiny was held in the heart of the Lord. I loved the gentle way that Oprah was portrayed in this story. The overwhelming feeling I walked away with was the special love that she shared with Hattie Mae and a special friend. The artwork was bold and sweeping. The brush strokes caught the expressions of everyone quite nicely, especially the hatred and disdain of the children who bullied her.
Quill says: If you are a fan of Oprah Winfrey's or, like me, just want to read about a special little speaker, you might want to add this one to your list!