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Daddy Says.

by Ntozake Shange Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, January 2003 $16.00, ISBN 0-689-83081-5

Fourteen-year-old Texas cowgirls Annie Sharon Johnson-Brown and her sister, Lucie-Marie, 12, have the rodeo in their blood. Their mother, Twanda, was a rodeo star who was killed by her own horse when the girls were very young. Tie-Down, their emotionally distant father, is having a hard time coping with his wife's death and relating to his daughters.

Set in Houston, Shange's novel picks up when the gifts learn that Tie-Down is dating Cassie, a half-black, half-Apache woman who reminds him of Twanda. Annie Sharon, who resents Cassie for trying to move in on her family, tries to capture her father's attention by riding a dangerous horse.

When Annie Sharon and her father are almost killed by the same horse that took Twanda's life, the near tragedy brings Cassie and the Johnson-Brown family closer as they work to resolve their differences.

Ntozake Shange, author of the children's book Float Like a Butterfly and the Obie Award-winning play for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, shines a light on a part of black life that many young adults will find unfamiliar.

Shange's story introduces readers to rodeo life: racing barrels, trick riding, bronco riding, calf roping, and lots of barbecues. Kids will also learn a bit about the early inhabitants of Texas, from the Lakota Sioux to the Aztecs.--L. J.
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Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 2003
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