Genre: Family / African American / Slavery / Drama / Racism
Year Published: 1992
Year Read: 1993
Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books
Series: American Heroes and Legends
“Follow the Drinking Gourd” is another tender story from Rabbit Ears’ “American Heroes and Legends” series and it masterfully details the story of how a family of African-American slaves tried to escape slavery through the Underground Railroad. This story is clearly one of Rabbit Ears’ best stories and also their most dramatic story ever created.
Morgan Freeman’s tender narration is perfect for this story as he narrates with emotion and coolness about a family’s efforts to escape the hardships of the cotton plantation. Morgan Freeman’s highlighted moment in this story comes when he makes a “FWAP!” sound effect when Mary’s mother covers her daughter’s mouth with her hand. Taj Mahal’s guitar music is memorizing and perfect for the mood of this story, which is sad and tender as he expresses the family’s feelings about being slaves in a sorrowful guitar solo and when he sings the lyrics to the song “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” he sounds so dense and sad yet beautiful and peaceful. Yvonne Buchanan’s illustrations are colorful and beautiful especially of the image of Mary herself as a light brown haired beauty who wears an old fashioned red checkered dress, as shown on the cover.
“Follow the Drinking Gourd” is a true dramatic story about the Underground Railroad and it shows the bravery of the family in a positive light as they struggled to find the freedom that they longed for. This story is a true masterpiece and is probably one of Rabbit Ears’ finest stories ever told and children ages five and up will truly appreciate this story of courage and wit.
Also reviewed at: Rabbit Ears Book Blog