Reviews for Josephine's Dream

School Library Journal Reviews 2008 August

K-Gr 2-- Josephine Baker rose from an impoverished childhood in St. Louis to become a well-known performer in 1920s Paris. Due to the mores of American culture before the Civil Rights Movement, she was forced to go abroad to realize her full artistic potential. In France, she was lauded for her talent and honored for her work in the Resistance during World War II. Stuchner's fictionalized account of Baker's life does not do justice to this complex and talented woman. For example, the text explains that she "sang, danced, crossed her eyes, knocked her knees, and made crazy funny faces." This leaves readers with a skewed idea of the performer's talent. The stylized color illustrations capture some sense of the eras Baker's career spanned but lack any kind of depth. Alan Schroeder's Ragtime Tumpie (Little, Brown, 1989) gives a better sense of Baker's childhood.--Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

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