Year Published: 1999
Written by: Clifton L. Taulbert
Illustrated by: E.B. Lewis
In a series of acclaimed memoirs, Clifton Taulbert has told of the nurturing community that raised him within the segregated Mississippi Delta of the 1950’s. Now Taulbert returns to the welcoming porches of his childhood in his first picture book.
Little Cliff’s great-grandmother needs a pound of Miz Call’s special butter to make her candied sweet potatoes. “You are getting to be a big boy,” she tells Cliff, “so I want you to run up to Miz Callie’s…. Don’t stop along the way, and get back here lickety-split.” But Cliff knows he must speak respectively to each neighbor he sees–and all the front porches are full today!
How Cliff’s neighbors help the small boy to complete a big errand makes a heartwarming story about intergenerational friendship. Clifton Taulbert’s memorable characters spring to life in watercolorists E. B. Lewis’s beautiful, light-filled paintings, evoking a special place that readers will delight in visiting again and again.
“Taulbert’s assured pace and judicious use of Southern vernacular imbue his prose with a strong regional flavor, and he draws his characters with great tenderness. The text’s strengths are matched by Lewis’s luminous watercolors, especially his portraits. Firmly grounded in realism and brimming with an appreciation for familiar, homespun pleasures, they invite readers to pause a minute, as if to soak up some front-porch hospitality.”