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Little Black Sambo, children's book, illustrated by Bonnie and Bill Rutherford, vintage 1961 edition, Whitman Top Top Tales

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"Little Black Sambo" is a classic children's book about a little boy and some mean tigers. This vintage 1961 edition is colorfully illustrated by Bonnie and Bill Rutherford, and published by the Whitman Publishing Co. as part of the "Top Top Tales" series.

The name of the title character has become a racial insult, displaying the cultural insensitivities of the late 1890s when the book was written, but the story itself is fairly innocuous and takes place in India.

It tells of a boy with a beautiful little red coat and a pair of beautiful little blue trousers, a beautiful green umbrella and a lovely little pair of purple shoes with crimson soles and crimson linings. By and by, he meets a series of tigers who threaten to eat him, but he saves himself by giving away his possessions one by one. Each newly-outfitted tiger goes away saying, "Now I'm the grandest tiger in the jungle."

Eventually the tigers get in a dispute over who is the finest and chase each other around a tree so fast that they melt into ghi, or butter, and are made into pancakes for the boy's family to eat.

My brother especially loved me to read him this book as a little boy, and I was surprised at how much of its cadences I still had memorized after all these years!

This copy is in pretty good shape, with some gouges and scratches on the covers. The binding is tight and there are no marks on the inside.

A great addition to your book collection!

6.5 by 7.5 inches
(16.5 cm by 19.1 cm)

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Little Black Sambo, children's book, illustrated by Bonnie and Bill Rutherford, vintage 1961 edition, Whitman Top Top Tales


  • Vintage item from the 1960s
  • Material: paper
  • Ships worldwide from United States
  • Favorited by: 10 people