Friday, February 17, 2012

Jazz Age Josephine - Jonah Winter, Marjorie Priceman

Jazz Age Josephine by Jonah Winter illus. by Marjorie Priceman
I never thought there would ever be a picture book biography on Josephine Baker so I was pretty psyched about this one. Plus Winter has an excellent track record and the bio lived up to my high hopes.

Winter's text has a great rhythmic quality to it.
People, listen to my story, bout a girl named Josephine
People listen to this story, bout a poor girl name of Josephine
She was the saddest little sweetheart this side of New Orleans.

While keeping the stories tempo, Winter is able to get across the racial tension that lead to Baker moving to France.

She kept dancin,
that girl, she never got tired
until one night when her whole world changed
the night St. Louis caught on fire.
Check Spelling
Winter mentions when Baker appeared in blackface and he handles that scene with the care it deserves. This is an excellent introduction to Josephine Baker. Priceman's colorful and beautiful illustrations fit the text perfectly and add an extra bit of pop.

There is a half a page author's note with more information about Baker but no timeline. I am a stickler for timeline and wish Winter had included one. However, I'd still recommend Jazz Age Josephine: Dancer, singer who's that, who? Why, that's Miss Josephine Baker, to you! without missing the beat.

An excerpt via publisher

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