The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural
The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural

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Annotation: A collection of ghost stories with African-American themes, designed to be told during the Dark Thirty--the half hour before sunset--when ghosts seem all too believable.
Catalog Number: #68178
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Copyright Date: 1992
Edition Date: 2001
Illustrator: Pinkney, J. Brian,
Pages: 166 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-679-89006-8 Perma-Bound: 0-605-01164-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-679-89006-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-01164-9
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 92003021
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
McKissack identifies these 10 tales as "original stories rooted in African American history and the oral storytelling tradition." She prefaces each with a short introduction explaining the historical incident or custom from which it grew--for example, slavery, belief in a psychic ability known as "the sight," or the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott that began in 1955. The most successful of the stories have the structure and style of traditional folktales as well as the shiver-up-the-back feeling of "real" ghost stories. In "Justice," an innocent black man lynched by the Klan comes back to haunt the man who engineered his death; the sad tale of "The Woman in the Snow" shows prejudice and cruelty overcome; and in the semi-autobiographical story "The Chicken Coop Monster," a young girl becomes secure in the knowledge that love casts out fear. An accessible collection on a popular topic, easy to booktalk to a wide range of readers. (Reviewed Dec. 15, 1992)
Horn Book
A collection of original stories rooted in African-American history and the tradition of oral storytelling spans the period from slavery to the civil-rights era. Pinkney's scratchboard artwork adds the right amount of tension and apprehension to this collection that is great for reading aloud. Winner of the 1993 Coretta Scott King Award and a 1993 Newbery Honor book.
Kirkus Reviews
McKissack invites readers to gather in the ``dark-thirty''- -the eerie half hour when dusk darkens to night—for ten shivery tales inspired by African-American folklore and history. The historical links are especially potent: in the ``The Legend of Pin Oak,'' a free mulatto and his family escape re-enslavement by leaping from a cliff; in ``We Organized''—written in free verse and based on an actual narrative—a cruel owner is forced by magic to free his slaves. An African-American lynched by the KKK, and another left by a white bus-driver to freeze to death, return to haunt their tormentors; when a dying Pullman porter hears ``The 11:59,'' he knows it's time to go. Each tale is told in a simple, lucid style, embellished by a few deftly inserted macabre details and by one of Pinkney's dramatic, swirling scratchboard illustrations. A fine collection that teaches as it entertains. (Fiction. 10-13)"
Publishers Weekly
In these stories--""""haunting in both senses of the word,"""" said PW's starred review--ghosts exact vengeance for lynchings, and slaves use ancient magic to ensure their freedom; historical backdrops run from the Underground Railroad to 1960s activism. Ages 8-up. (Dec.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up-- Ten original stories, all with a foundation in African-American history or culture. Some are straight ghost stories, many of which are wonderfully spooky and all of which have well-woven narratives. There is a tale from slavery times; a story set among the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; and one from the 1940s segregated South, in which a black man's ghost brings revenge upon the white klansman who murdered him. Strong characterizations are superbly drawn in a few words. The atmosphere of each selection is skillfully developed and sustained to the very end. Pinkney's stark scratch-board illustrations evoke an eerie mood, which heightens the suspense of each tale. This is a stellar collection for both public and school libraries looking for absorbing books to hook young readers. Storytellers also will find it a goldmine. --Kay McPherson, Central Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, GA
Word Count: 29,227
Reading Level: 4.6
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.6 / points: 4.0 / quiz: 7855 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:6.9 / points:6.0 / quiz:Q02813
Lexile: 730L
Guided Reading Level: R
Fountas & Pinnell: R

This Newbery Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Award Winner from beloved author Patricia McKissack offers a “stellar collection” of “ten original stories, all with a foundation in African-American history or culture” (School Library Journal).
In that special half-hour of twilight—the dark-thirty—there are stories to be told. Mesmerizing and breathtakingly original, these tales are inspired by African American history and range from the time of slavery to the civil rights era. With her extraordinary gift for suspense, Patricia C. McKissack has created a heart-stopping collection of lasting value, a book not quickly forgotten.
An ALA Notable Children’s Book
An NCSS-CBC Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies
An IRA Teachers’ Choice

The legend of pin oak
We organized
The 11:59
The sight
The woman in the snow
The conjure brother
Boo Mama
The gingi
The chicken-coop monster.

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