The House That Crack Built

The House That Crack Built


By (author) Clark Taylor, By (author) Jan Thompson Dicks, Illustrated by Jan Thompson Dicks

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  • Publisher: CHRONICLE BOOKS
  • Format: Paperback | 33 pages
  • Dimensions: 188mm x 192mm x 6mm | 118g
  • Publication date: 10 June 1999
  • Publication City/Country: California
  • ISBN 10: 0811801233
  • ISBN 13: 9780811801232
  • Illustrations note: colour illustrations
  • Sales rank: 277,848

Product description

With a beat reminiscent of hip hop or rap music, a well known nursery rhyme is brilliantly transformed into a powerful poem about the tragic problem of illegal drugs and its victims. From the harvesting of the coca plants to dealers and gangs to the innocent crack babies born everyday, cocaine's journey is starkly traced from beginning to end. The rhythmic text, which is realistic but not moralizing, will appeal to teenagers and adults. But it is also accessible for even very young children, making this a valuable resource for parents, teachers, librarians, caregivers, and everyone else who is looking for a way to broach this difficult subject. A list of organizations is provided for those seeking help for a loved one or a way out for themselves. A forword by children's advocate Michael Pritchard teaches us that we are all victims of this debilitating drug but reminds us that we also have the ability to change our world.

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Author information

Clark Taylor has worked as a bartender, an oil field laborer, and a jail services volunteer but now makes his living as a comedian. Mr. Taylor lives in New York City. Jan Thompson Dicks is the illustrator of The House That Crack Built, published by Chronicle Books in 1992 to extraordinary critical acclaim. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Review quote

--"PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, "Starred Review, June 1, 1992, Best Books of 1992 A familiar nursery rhyme takes a decidedly dark turn in this sobering picture book. Written in a hip-hop rhythm an based on "The House That Jack Built," the new cumulative rhyme focuses attention on the drug trade and abuse of crack cocaine. No stone is left unturned as the text demonstrates the drug's ripple effect, which begins with exploited South American coca farmers--"These are the Farmers who work in the heat"--and ends up invading urban neighborhoods also infested with gangs, violence, despair and hopelessness: "This is the Street of a town in pain"; "This is the Girl who's killing her brain." Dicks uses muted, somber colors and almost cubist figures and images, to illustrate crack's lethal potential. The picture book format is well-suited to presentation of this subject matter to a wide audience--younger readers can readily digest the sparse text and ask questions about the art, while older children and adults may use the book as a jumping off point for more involved discussion. All of the publisher's proceeds from the book will go to drug education, prevention and rehabilitation programs that specifically help children. All ages.-- "BOOKLIST, " April 15, 1992 With a relentless rap beat, this handsome picture book transforms the old, gentle children's rhyme into a dark, cumulative verse about drugs. It connects glamor, violence, and misery across society. "This is the Street of a town in pain / that cries for the Drug known as cocaine." Adding one line at a time, the verse builds up always repeating what's gone before, from the mansion of the crack lord and the guns of the gang to the hungry baby "born of the Girl who's killing her brain / smoking the Crack that numbs the pain." Opposite each verse is a dramatic, richly colored framed painting in a style reminiscent of a vivid street mural. With an element of the surreal, the strung-out addicts are like figures in Pica