Ballad of the Ragman.
Ballad of the Ragman
Cynthia Gustavson, author
Kristina Tosic, illustrator
Blooming Twig Books
PO Box 4668 #66675, New York, NY 10163
9781933918426, $18.95, www.bloomingtwigbooks.com
"Ballad of the Ragman" is an illustrated adapted ballad from a poem by the same name previously published in "Fe-Vers: Feeling Verses for Children," by Blooming Twig Press. The story told is simple but profound. A scary ragman who lives on a dark and dangerous side of town sifts through people's trash and takes chosen items home in his grocery cart. One girl see him take her discarded, eyeless teddy bear and she decides to follow him to see what he does with his load. She sees a strange sight inside a sparkling workshop the ragman carefully washes and mends the teddy bear's eyes and mends other broken things, such as cuckoo clocks and rocking chairs. Running away home, the girl dreams of her discarded teddy bear, re-gifted to her all restored and fresh by the ragman. When she awakes, she finds her dream has come true. She joyfully hugs her teddy bear and vows never again to fear the rag man and his strange ways. The unusual collage/mixed media art in the illustrations emphasizes the strange inclusiveness of the ragman's choices. "Ballad of the Ragman" is an inspiring book for children ages 6 and up. A portion of the proceeds from its sales goes to support the Rag Man Project. Readers are encouraged to visit, www.ragmanproject.com to find ways of reaching out in their communities.