Friday, October 02, 2009

Banned Book: Little Black Sambo

Here's where all the tigers are from. I had this book when I was pretty young. I don't know where it came from, it looked old when I got it, but I loved the illustrations. The story was fun too; tigers wearing clothes and it ends with pancakes. This book is banned for the obvious racist connotation of the title, even though it was originally a little boy from India. As time went on, the character changed to African, with many versions having stereotypical depictions of Sambo (black face, "native" type dress.) There's a Little Golden Book with very cute tigers but a grass-skirted Sambo illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren, who did the Poky Little Puppy and others.

We have a few updated versions of the book at the library, one renamed just Sam and one giving him an Indian name. My favorite image from the story is the tiger with shoes on his ears. Probably because the shoes were purple and had curly toes and he just looked really cute. Poor tigers turn into butter at the end though!

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