Reviews for Josephine's Dream

Library Media Connection Reviews 2008 April/May
Powerful is the first word that comes to mind as you read this fictionalized account of the story of Josephine Baker. It shows the significance of one black woman in the 20th century, but Stuchner's words are just as commanding as the story itself. This book emphasizes how Baker went about achieving her dream, similar to Martin Luther King, Jr., but how she realized another dream in the process. Through the repetition of such phrases as "sang, danced, crossed her eyes, knocked her knees, and made crazy funny faces" and "encore" we are taught about reaching our dreams, civil rights, and World War II. More importantly, the reader is taught about values, especially the significance of family. Stuchner takes us from St. Louis, Missouri, where Baker was born, to Paris, France, where she accomplished her dream. Walther illustrates her journey in colorful pictures that complement the text. This book is great for character education or for a lesser-known story about achieving a dream. It belongs in every picture book collection and will make a very worthy addition to Black History titles. Highly Recommended. Stacy Rosenthal, Librarian, Council Rock High School South, Holland, Pennsylvania © 2008 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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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