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Extended Audio Sample The Slave Dancer Audiobook, by Paula Fox Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.45 out of 53.45 out of 53.45 out of 53.45 out of 53.45 out of 5 3.45 (29 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Paula Fox Narrator: Peter MacNicol Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2008 ISBN: 9780739371862
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Jessie Bollier often played his fife to earn a few pennies down by the New Orleans docks. One afternoon a sailor asked him to pipe a tune, and that evening Jessie was kidnapped and dumped aboard The Moonlight, a slave ship, where a hateful duty awaited him. He was to play music so the slaves could "dance" to keep their muscles strong, their bodies profitable. Jessie was sickened by the thought of taking part in the business of trading rum and tobacco for blacks and then selling the ones who survived the frightful sea voyage from Africa. But to the men of the ship a "slave dancer" was necessary to ensure their share of the profit. They did not heed the horrors that every day grew more vivid, more inescapable to Jessie. Yet , even after four months of fear, calculated torture, and hazardous sailing with a degraded crew, Jessie was to face a final horror that would stay with him for the rest of his life.


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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lyd Stew | 2/19/2014

    " I just finished this one today and I thought it was awesome! Such an amazing historical depiction of the slave trade, but tastefully done through a young boys eyes. Loved how the ending was handled- just enough info. There were times I was a little lost- like for a while I couldn't figure out why the boy couldn't stand Ben Stout- just some unclear moments. But thought it was masterfully done on the whole-- "kid-friendly" portion of "Roots". "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Colin | 1/31/2014

    " I specifically remember buying this book at the Tattered Cover in Denver with my allowance after our teacher read it aloud to us in 5th grade. It wasn't as good as I remembered, but not as fucked up as I thought it might be either, what with the track record of Newberry winners by white people about people of color such as Sign of the Beaver or Island of the Blue Dolphins. It was brutally realistic up to a point, but then trailed off into unrealistic-land, with our main character conveniently being saved by very settled yet undiscovered runaway slave and making friends with one of the formerly captive slaves after they survive a shipwreck. Meh. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 La-Shanda | 1/29/2014

    " Although a good read, there are some inappropiate language. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alison Lake | 1/21/2014

    " This was a challenging book to read because it's brutally honest about the horrors of the slave trade. It's actually amazing to me that it's considered a "young adult" book because it's incredibly sad at times and very disturbing. It's so hard to comprehend the terror slaves felt when they were taken from their country and brought to another to live lives of misery. The story is from the perspective of a young boy from New Orleans who is kidnapped and forced to play music on a slave ship in order to keep the slaves fit and ready to sell. The language is accurate, but inappropriate for young audiences (in my opinion). This book represents very skillful writing and storytelling, but a very sad and upsetting topic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katelyn | 1/7/2014

    " I was about eleven when I first read The Slave Dancer, which was around the same time that I was reading typical children's adventure stories and Goosebumps ...et cetera. So, as you can assume, this book had a tremendous impact on my eleven-year-old self. It was the first to open my eyes to a whole other world of writing. The Slave Dancer was incredibly chilling. I remember how I could see and feel the horrors that Paula Fox so mindfully brought to life, and it completely blew me away. I grabbed notecards and wrote down all the sentences I found most captivating in the book. I completely fell in love with it. After that, I went out of my way to find books that used descriptive language and imagery. I swear, it felt like I was learning a whole new language. So, I have to say there's a special place for this book because I love it not only for the story but how it helped me grow. I've been meaning to get my hands on it again to read it now that I'm an adult... new mission "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ali | 1/1/2014

    " I loved this book. Another kids book (but a chapter book) about a boy that is kidnapped to play his fife on a slave ship to make them dance. Keeps the slaves healthier when they dance. Jesse goes through many trials during his trip. Pick this quick-read up if you want a fun/adventurous time ;) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barbara | 12/31/2013

    " The Slave Dancer is basically a story about one boy's loss of innocence - the year is 1840, and 13 year old Jessie Bollier of New Orleans is kidnapped and forced to play his fife on a slave ship. It gave me more insight into the slave industry and some of the things that went on. However, it is not an easy read. It's very slow to start and seemed to drag. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Saysha | 12/30/2013

    " My son read this for 8th grade history, so I picked it up. You can't love a book about this subject, but I am glad I read it, and thought it was interesting and fairly well done. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 April | 12/26/2013

    " Was too sensitive and too young when I read this book, but I liked it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendi | 12/26/2013

    " Very interesting story that gives a gruesome look at the cruelty of slave ships in the mid-1800s. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Claire | 12/17/2013

    " ok so we had to read this book during standardized testing and i finished pretty quickly, i think its only about a 6th grade level book but it was good all the same. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Monica | 10/31/2013

    " super boring! i had 2 read it though! i hav trouble staying awake!!!!! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lena Hillbrand | 10/30/2013

    " Easy to read historical fiction for kids. Pirates, kidnap, poverty galore. And a slave dancer. It was okay, but not my favorite Newberry Winner. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Connie | 10/27/2013

    " Good Story of life on a slave ship "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ashley | 10/15/2013

    " A different look into the slave trade! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Risa | 10/4/2013

    " The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox (1991) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 8/29/2013

    " I listened to this and the narration was terrible, but despite that I thought that it was an exciting, meaningful story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Frenchie Presents.... | 6/28/2013

    " Good book for kids to read at junior-high level! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melanie | 1/4/2013

    " This was a pretty vivid and intense book about the slave trade. I won't let my kids read it until they are at least 15 years old. It was good, but heart wrenching. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine | 7/30/2012

    " This book is full of beautiful language. Paula Fox does an excellent job of painting pictures with her words. Jessie's story is sadly believable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Atali | 6/8/2012

    " This book may be grusome, but it was great. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura5 | 5/15/2012

    " I had to "teach" this as a class novel during my student teaching. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 10/11/2011

    " brief, vivid, and very dark "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kyla | 5/19/2011

    " I quit reading it in the beggining. It was a bore. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 2/9/2011

    " One of the best books on the slave trade that I have read. Very moving. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachel | 1/26/2011

    " Good look at slavery with out too many cruel details. A good first look for a younger reader. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brittany | 1/25/2011

    " This was a sad and difficult book to read. As far as I know it did depict the horrible conditions of a slave trade ship. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Denise | 10/7/2010

    " I won this book. Kind of gut-wrenching for me but that was the reality for the slaves who were the unfortunate victims of the slave trade. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Connie | 8/19/2010

    " Good Story of life on a slave ship "

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About the Author
Author Paula Fox

Paula Fox was born in New York City in 1923. Her mother rejected her at birth and she was rescued from an orphanage by her grandmother, who raised her around Florida, Cuba, and other parts of the United States. She attended Columbia University, and worked as a teacher and tutor until starting a career as a writer in her forties. For her work, she won the international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1978, the 1974 Newbery Medal for her novel The Slave Dancer; a 1983 National Book Award in Children’s Fiction for A Place Apart; and the 2008 Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis for A Portrait of Ivan in its German-language edition, Ein Bild von Ivan. In 2011 Fox was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame.

About the Narrator

Peter MacNicol is an American actor. He is known in films for his roles of Janosz Poha in Ghostbusters II, Stingo in Sophie’s Choice, and David Langley in Bean. For television he is known for the roles of the eccentric lawyer John Cage in the Fox comedy-drama Ally McBeal, as Tom Lennox in the sixth season of action-thriller 24, Alan Birch in the medical drama Chicago Hope, and as physicist Dr. Larry Fleinhardt on the CBS crime drama NUMB3RS.