Book Review: Borrowed Black

Borrowed Black: A Labrador Fantasy, written by Ellen Bryan Obed and illustrated by Jan Mogensenis a children’s story book about an imaginary creature that lives on the coast of Labrador. This children’s story is a poem written using rhyming couplets. This simple but effective writing style allows for a very coherent and fluid read. Although Borrowed Black is a children’s book, it is still appropriate for adults as it cleverly places information about Labrador within its text. Obed is an excellent author as she uses a collection of literary devices to create a more vivid understanding of the story.

Borrowed Black, the protagonist of this children’s story can also be viewed as the antagonist as he initiates the havoc created in the story. Borrowed Black is created from “borrowed” items, “For Borrowed Black borrowed and never gave back.” His hands were “borrowed” from the paws of a bear and a gull’s beak he “borrowed” as his nose. These “borrowed” items fueled his very existence. When Borrowed Black becomes consumed with greed, he selfishly steals the moon, leaving the land veiled in darkness. Borrowed Black drops the moon and breaks it into several pieces, “a billion and four.” Later, a few brave sailors, Mousie Mate and his Curious Crew successfully steal the moon back from Borrowed Black, returning it to the sky which consequently destroys Borrowed Black.

Like most children’s stories, a moral is often created throughout the story. The moral established in Borrowed Black is how courage can overcome greed. This story is also a legend, as when the moon was smashed into many different pieces they say that is the reason for the cracks in the moon.


To this very night on the Labrador

When you stand and watch from the tall, dark shore, 

You can see cracks in the moon round and high

And the silver it left on its way to the sky.


And fishermen say if you follow the trail,

You’ll come to the boat in the back of the whale.   


Borrowed Black is an excellent children’s story and I would certainly recommend this story to any audience.




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