By Christian Robinson, Patricia Hruby Powell
In exuberant verse and stirring photos, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create a rare portrait for kids of the passionate performer and civil rights suggest Josephine Baker, the girl who labored her method from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest levels on the planet. Meticulously researched through either writer and artist, Josephine's strong tale of fight and triumph is an thought and a spectacle, like the legend herself.
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Additional info for Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker
But her wires got crossed. Couldn’t get down. Hanging in midair, she rolled her eyes like shooting marbles, flailed those long legs. WHAT A CLOWN! ” The audience laughed themselves to tears. They STOMPED. They CLAPPED. Just a kid, thirteen, and Josephine loved that crazy applause. The Dixie Steppers, ready to leave Saint Louis to set off on tour, thought Josephine was too young to leave her home. Josephine didn’t. She said to her kid sister Margaret, “Cross your heart . . swear you won’t tell Mama .
Eva, the chorus, the director— all raged at Josephine. ” She made the white audience laugh, MUGGING FACES, GRIMACING, and SIGHING through her exotic jig. Josephine soaked it up and kept the job. After Shuffle, Josephine danced and sang DOWNTOWN at the Plantation Club, but she couldn’t sit at a table and eat dinner with white folk. She couldn’t enter the front door. NEGROES used the back door. Those were the rules. American rules. In RESTAURANTS, NIGHTCLUBS, HOTELS, TRAINS. She couldn’t try on hats in the department stores because that was for WHITES ONLY.
But that didn’t suit Josephine’s plan to conquer the world. Before the Dixie Steppers’ train steamed out of the station, Josephine hid in a costume trunk, A STOWAWAY KID. She LURCHED and BOUNCED and BRUISED inside that trunk. The train screeched to a stop twenty-five miles down the line. She whimpered and climbed out. The Dixie Steppers scolded her, consoled her, then took her back into the fold. She begged the director, Mr. Bob Russell, could she PLEASE DANCE on stage. She knew every dance. Every song.