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5.0 out of 5 starsA book as dazzling as Josephine Baker
Reviewed in the United States on December 16, 2020
Though it took a short while to appreciate the illustrations, as the poetic, almost musical biography proceeded I became fascinated as text and art merged. The facts of Baker's unique life, her triumph over every obstacle, her ultimate bravery and kindness melt hearts. She was a saint. I love this story
1.0 out of 5 starsNOT a book - quick, simplified and illustrated kid's book
Reviewed in the United States on October 28, 2018
I thought this would be a normal biography of the artist. It was only about 20 digital pages. Basically a kid's book version of her life. I finished it in 10 minutes and paid more $$ than minutes it took to read.
Josephine was an interesting book. This book can really speak to your child. The passion Josephine has for her career is impeccable. There are a few lessons your child can learn from reading this book especially about pride and passion
Spanning the years 1906 to 1975, from humble beginnings to spectacular success, JOSEPHINE takes readers on the lifelong journey of dancer Josephine Baker. Patricia Hruby Powell’s new picture book, equally entertaining and informative, is sure to capture the imagination. More than a Cinderella tale, it is the story of a woman with a “volcanic core,” driven by her innate talent and desire for justice.
Josephine Baker was raised in the slums of St. Louis, Missouri. As a young girl, she dreamed of dancing to her favorite ragtime and honky-tonk music. Against the backdrop of discrimination and race riots, Josephine made her start as a performer in a small vaudeville troupe. When the Dixie Steppers invited her on tour, Josephine’s world began to open up. But once they arrived in New Orleans, the troupe decided that Josephine was not stage material, and instead would be working with costumes. Josephine didn’t let the bait and switch discourage her; soon enough, she appeared on stage.
Just 15 years old, Josephine made her way to New York City, where she heard there was a Broadway show featuring black performers. When one dancer got sick, Josephine took her place in the chorus. She danced with energy and humor, deliberately stepping out of turn and into the spotlight. Not only was Josephine a hit, she stole the show. Yet offstage --- in clubs, restaurants and even the theaters where she performed --- the starlet continued to face segregation.
In the ‘20s, Josephine was invited to perform in La Revue Nègre in Paris. Finally, within the integrated society of Paris, Josephine was met with respect. Hailed as the “Black Pearl,” she became the revue’s poster girl. Josephine went on to become a great humanitarian and civil rights advocate. Josephine Baker died in 1975, but not before staging a triumphant comeback.
Powell embeds biographical description in verse to create a compelling mix of history and poetry. With syncopated rhythms and emphatic onomatopoeia, she captures the sound and movement of a brilliant performer. Vibrant, acrylic illustrations by Christian Robinson further accentuate Baker’s singular style.
This great semi-biography of Josephine Baker tells the story of the famous dancer's life as, well, more of a story. If your child is choosing this for a school biography book report, be sure to check with the teacher, because it may not meet the criteria for a strict "biography."
The book deals explicitly with how Josephine, and generations of Black Americans, have turned anger and outrage into creative brilliance.
The book shows the hatred and violence unleashed by labor unions in the north against black strike-breakers, documenting the 1917 labor riots in East St. Louis.
It also shows the depressing reality of a famous personality living too far above her income.
Deals with Josephine Baker's life in a rich, memorable, enjoyable, and REAL way. Very fun to read aloud.
Visually this book is beautiful. I just wish the publishers had toned down one page, where instead of referring to rape and murder they had said hurt and killed. Similar conotations but slightly less strong words. This is still a book aimed at children after all. That said I still love it. Its just not as east to use for 7-10 year olds.