Brown’s story never gets old, and this illustrated biography is rich in context and detail that make it heavier on history and better for slightly older readers than, for instance, Ellen Levine and Kadir Nelson’s Henry’s Freedom Box (2007).Heartbreaking and legendary.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A powerful assortment of colors, textures, and artistic styles illustrate this true story of how Henry “Box” Brown escaped enslavement in 1849 via a harrowing journey inside a sealed crate…His traumatic, stifling two-day journey (“Baggage”) from Virginia to Philadelphia occurs over several claustrophobic spreads. Elaborate mixed-media collages by Wood (Clap Your Hands) employ a box motif, featuring Escher-like cubes alongside folded paper and painted quilt squares. A timeline, notes, and bibliography conclude this rich retelling of Brown’s courageous escape.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
An artful and introspective retelling of the life of a remarkable man and a painful era in U.S. history. Weatherford’s text paired with Wood’s illustrations combine to offer a memorable work of nonfiction.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Weatherford’s moving, poetic verse gives the story a very personal tone as the reader becomes immersed in Brown’s harrowing tale of loss and sorrow and his determination to be free…The mixed-media art uses collage elements effectively. Deep reds and bright blues and greens figure prominently, giving the art a somewhat vintage feel while still being vivid and vibrant. The book ends powerfully with a poem titled “AXIOM”: “Freedom / Is / Fragile. / Handle / With / Care.”
—The Horn Book (starred review)
Alongside Weatherford’s spare verses, Wood’s paintings fairly explode with vivid visual motifs of quilts and confinement, with thickly brushed images rigidly squeezed and folded within borders that strain to hold them…Middle grade- and school readers are at an ideal age to begin unpacking Brown’s story, and the harmonious interplay of word and image will invite youth with strong preference for either literary or visual formats to join in common discussion of the concept of freedom.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
Mixed-media illustrations combine thickly textured figures and backgrounds, collage, and painted, folded paper to create images with three-dimensional qualities. As the illustrator says in her note, the pictures convey deep suffering, hope, and determination. Cubic shapes appear frequently, echoing and amplifying the six lines of each poem. Intended for older readers than Henry’s Freedom Box (2007), the book artfully expresses difficult truths while being mindful of a child audience.