Carrimebac, the Town that Walked

Candlewick. Mar. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536213690.
Gr 2-5–Merging history and magic, this is a tale like no other. When Rootilla Redgums and her grandson, Julius Jefferson, arrive in Walkerton, GA, in 1875, the Black townsfolk have no idea what’s to come. Using Rootilla’s magic, the town flourishes. This upset and angers their neighbors, who are white. Dressed in white sheets, the neighbors attempt to scare off the good people of Walkerton. Rootilla sends them off, but passes away that same night, after asking Julius to carry her back to where she was born. Making good on his promise to her, and with the threat of the fearful white folks on their heels, Julius carves a sign engraved with “Carrimebac.” With a rope tied around his magical pet duck, they pull the entire town across the ground, into the water, never to be seen again, leaving a lake where Walkerton once was. Although the ending leaves room for more of the story, it still closes in a satisfying way. Despite some strong and frightening scenes (yes, that is the KKK), this tale is full of whimsy and wordplay, and is an excellent read-aloud. The illustrations, done with paint on canvas, beautifully complement the storytelling voice. Using the angle of the light, magic becomes visible to the reader.
VERDICT These heroics read like a classic folktale. With delightful text, and beautiful artwork, it is one not be skipped.

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