The Song of the Molimo by Jane Cutler

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Synopsis

"Open ye gates! Swing wide ye portals! . . . Behold the achievements of your race . . . " - David Francis, president, Louisiana Purchase Exposition

It is 1904 and twelve-year-old Harry has traveled all the way from Kansas to spend six weeks visiting the World's Fair in St. Louis. And although he doesn't know exactly what to expect when he steps off the train onto the platform, it certainly is not to see his older cousin Frederick in the company of five African Pygmies. Frederick, an anthropologist, has come to the station to pick up Harry and ends up being put in charge of the Pygmies, who have also just arrived, but to be exhibited at the fair. Harry couldn't care less about Frederick or his Pygmies and makes himself an ambitious agenda for sightseeing. Yet, over the next days, one thing or another keeps bringing him back to the Pygmies. It is through a friendship with one in particular - Ota Benga - and a growing respect for his cousin that Harry begins to challenge his own ideas about race and evolution. Filled with vivid characters, The Song of the Molimo is a picturesque, action-packed novel.
 

About Jane Cutler

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Jane Cutler is the author of numerous books for children, including two books for younger readers, No Dogs Allowed and Rats! She lives in San Francisco, California.
 
Published October 13, 1998 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 160 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Harry Jones and Ota Benga arrive on the St. Louis train platform at the same time, both soon ending up under the wing of Harry's cousin Frederick, a junior member of the Exposition's Department of Anthropology whose racial views are decidedly more enlightened than those of his bombastic boss Mich...

Oct 01 1998 | Read Full Review of The Song of the Molimo

Publishers Weekly

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For example, when a pompous anthropologist informs a packed house that larger skull size indicates greater intelligence, he compares Ota's head measurements to those of a man Harry knows as a blockhead and a thief.

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