Sam and the Tigers

written by Julius Lester, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

One of the most controversial books in children's literature, Little Black Sambo, has been reinvented as a lively tale of a little boy who triumphs over several hungry tigers.

A more politically correct retelling of Little Black Sambo, this book is set in the imaginary land of Sam-sam-sa-mara, where animals are people, too, and all the humans are named Sam. The presentation style is of a Southern black storyteller and the hero is savvy and streetwise. He quickly learns to anticipate the tigers' muggings while losing none of his own sass. The essentials from the original are here: the snarling tigers won't let go of each other's tails, and they run so fast that they turn to butter, which Sam's mother uses to make pancakes--and Sam gets his clothes back. The brightly colored and wonderfully detailed pencil-and-watercolor drawings are a feast for the eye!

I'm glad it is back!

Little Black Sambo was one of my favorite stories when I was small. I never did understand the charges of racism because all I remember was the danger and adventure and pancakes with butter. Lester and Pinkney have done a wonderful job bringing the tale back for future generations to enjoy.