Josephine by Patricia Hruby Powell Book Review

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker
Words by Patricia Hruby Powell
Picture by Christian Robinson

In beautiful moving verse with vibrant pictures, this biography creates an extraordinary portrait of the fabulous Josephine Baker. Told in chapters and following her from a childhood in the slums to the grandest places in the world, this story sets the stage for one of the most vibrant talents of the 20th century. It's a powerful story of struggle and triumph about a woman who has become a legend.

I admit that I have never been a big reader of children's biographies and am even more ambivalent towards biographies written in verse. This story however was so exceptionally well-done that I think I may have to change my opinion in regards to these. I was vaguely aware of Ms. Baker's life and music before I started this story, but there were quite a few facts that I was unaware of. And the end? I cried.

Additional note: The illustrations by Robinson are fantastic. I could immediately tell that Josephine was dancing the Charleston, wiggling her bottom, grinning a foxy grin, and even lost in sadness. And on the spreads where there were no illustrations the words themselves danced across the page.