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Warning! This page contains spoilers for Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky.
–Gum Baby before throwing sap, at someone or something.
Gum Baby is a living doll that houses the essence of a fairy.
While he was on a quest, Anansi created a wooden doll and covered it over with gum, then puts a plate of yams in its lap, in order to capture an African fairy named Mmoatia. She takes the bait and eats the yams, but grows angry when the Gum Baby does not respond and strikes it, becoming stuck in the process.
She is sent by John Henry and Brer Rabbit to another world to find the stories of Anansi. The night Tristan Strong arrives at his grandparent‘s farm, she searches for Eddie’s Journal in Tristan‘s bedroom. When he inadvertently reveals the journal’s location in his backpack, she snatched it and runs away with Tristan going after her. As she hides in the cornfield she throws sap at a crow, revealing her location to Tristan. As she makes her way to the bottle tree forest, she is seen and Tristan goes after her. As Gum Baby is about to go into a small tree, Tristan calls her a doll and she attacks him in a fit of rage. As he is about to break a bottle on a tree, she warns him not to but Tristan does so and unleashes a gust of hot wind an the ground splits open. The two go after Eddie’s journal and they fall into the fissure once they reach it.
She and Tristan then land in a boiling sea and, as she can not swim, he puts her on her back as they narrowly escape three Bone Ships with the help of a flying raft. When they board she is greeted by Ayanna, who says she was gone for a year. As they escape the bone ships she grasps Eddie’s journal. When they land she insults Tristan as he helps her ashore and puts the journal in his hood. As they head to the Thicket, they run into Fetterlings and she is captured but Tristan saves her.
A day later she brings a young rabbit named Chestnutt to Tristan and tells him to go to the meeting. She tells a group of elders who he attacked her during her mission but she get berated by them for tak a year to complete a simple task. She is present when Tristan is interrogated on the whereabouts of the journal. When Tristan says he lost it and Brer Rabbit berates him, while she is berated by Rose and Sarah. When Tristan snaps and nearby butterflies reenact his story. She calms him down and calls him an Anansesem. John Henry thanks her for bringing Tristan to them and dismisses her. She then takes Tristan to the mess hall and eats some of his stew.
Later she sneaks aboard the Flying Raft to join Tristan, Ayanna, and Chestnutt in finding the Story Box. When she blames Tristan for her reprimanding and explains how she wants to be a pilot like Ayanna, he tells her and Chestnutt of the prank he and Eddie pulled as they go to the Golden Cresent. They scout out the city before split up, she and Tristan go one way while Ayanna and Chestnutt go another way. Tristan stops her from throwing sap at a statue before regrouping and heading to Nyame’s Palace. They go inside and find a statue of Nyame and a trap door. When Tristan tells the story of how Anansi gave humanity, they hear a booming voice. The statue is revealed to be the actual sky god restrained and paralyzed by iron monsters. Tristan continues to tell the story and tells the others to touch s statue. Tristan throws her at a statue which comes to life and takes out the bosslings, but also takes them to Nyame. She throws sap at a leopard‘s tail while the others negotiate for the story box. He agrees but reveals he does not have it.
They make their way to Anansi’s Palace and Tristan finds a hidden entrance that leads to a room full of dissected fetterlings and, after Chestnutt reads some notes, Tristan realizes the story box is hidden in the Ridge. They talk about the fortress city’s defenses and transportation. When they arrive she and Ayanna take out the rock lasers before landing in the train. They ride in the trash car for a few minutes flying into a tunnel leading to the Ridge, however they are quickly apprehended. She is shoved in a sack as they are brought before a spirit who believes they are the ones responsible for abducting their people. She faints as Tristan tells his story of the chaos of Alke to the Ridgefolk. When the Abiyoyo Tristan created starts attacking the Ridgefolk, she fights it with the rest of the Ridgefolk. After it is defeated, they are given the story box. But seconds later a man arrives asking for it. She recognizes him as High John. When he says MidPass is overrun by iron monsters, she is at a loss for words. She slaps Tristan when he wakes up and is disappointed in the state of the story box. She and the others eat and debate to go back to MidPass or to go to Nyame. When iron monsters attack the Ridgefolk, she jumps on a fetterling and rides it around throwing sap at the enemy. After the Hullbeast breaks down the door, she covers the group as they retreat. She comforts an injured Ayanna and Chestnutt on there way back to the Golden Cresent.
When they land High John takes them to a sycamore where a Mmoatia, fairy heals Ayanna and Chestnutt. She is disturbed by the sight of it, as she was one. She and the others go to Nyame’s Palace have the sky god fix the story box. She is startled when the Maafa arrives. As the others go to fight the Maafa, she and Tristan defend the story box. When Tristan charges at the Maafa she joins him and takes part in him pain to have both the story box and Eddie’s Journal. When the time comes she throws sap in Uncle C’s face. When the ship starts to submerge, she and Tristan search for a way out. They end up in a bus where Eddie greets them and explains how Uncle C was using the journal to track Tristan and telling stories from the journal to feed the Maafa. After a brief conversation she and Tristan and end up in the holding compartment of the giant slave ship. As they leave Tristan looks around and finds someone.
As they surface and swim to shore Tristan tells her something and he gives her his bracelet. As Tristan plays keep away with Brer Rabbit, she presses the charms on the bystanders to reveal that they found the real Brer Rabbit on the Maafa and that Anansi has taken his place. She and the rest of her group go to watch Anansi‘s sentencing and says goodbye to Tristan.
Gum Baby looked like a homemade doll that someone had carved out of wood, painted it a dark molasses brown that hadn’t quite dried yet, drawn two black dots for eyes, and glued curly black wool on its head in two afro-puffs. She was almost a foot high, and she wore a black turtle neck and pants but her tiny feet were bare. Each of her footsteps made a sound like Velcro strips separating and left behind a trail of stains.
Her voice sounded strange and high-pitched, like when someone breathed in helium from a balloon and their voice gets squeaky. This is unlike the Gum Baby that Anansi made that was silent and also wore leaves for clothes instead.
Gum Baby is shown to be short tempered and aggressive. She often mispronounces words and hates when others correct her. She is also impulsive and arrogant, however she cares about her friends.
- Láspikinesis: Gum Baby can generate sap from her body.
- Gum Baby's story is extremely similar to the one of the Tar Baby. In it, Brer Fox creates a similar doll made out of tar to trap Brer Rabbit.
- She refers to herself in the third person.
- ↑ https://books.disney.com/content/uploads/2019/05/Tristan-Strong-Hole-in-Sky_pp1-33.pdf
- ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tar-Baby
|Tristan Strong series|
|Books:||Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky | Tristan Strong Destroys the World|
|Main Characters:||Tristan Strong | Ayanna | Chestnutt | Gum Baby | Uncle C|
|Secondary Characters:||High John | Thandiwe | John Henry | Eddie Garvey | Maafa|
|Minor Characters:||Alvin Strong | Mrs. Strong | Walter Strong | Nana Strong | Fezile | Netta|
|African American Gods:||Brer Rabbit | Rose | Sarah | Brer Fox | Brer Bear | Tarrypin | Sis Crow|
|West African Gods:||Anansi | Nyame|
|Creatures:||Haint | Fetterling | Brand Fly | Hullbeast | Abiyoyo | Mmoatia|
|Related Content:||Kwame Mbalia | Rick Riordan Presents|