I admit, although I am a New Yorker born and bred, I did not know the story of Florence Mills, star of the Harlem Renaissance -- and I wonder why her story is not more well known. It should be more widely known. SHE should be more widely known, and this book is admirable for that alone -- for telling the story of a performer from a time when African American artists, musicians, singers and actors were still all too often on the sidelines of mainstream culture. The author's note provides further insight into the life of Florence Mills, something I welcomed as I had fallen in love with the child star in the previous pages, and was longing to know more.
Yet children don't care how worthy a book is if it is not also beautiful and engaging. BABY FLO is both. The watercolor illustrations have a playful looseness that feels like a small child dancing for the sheer love of it. The text is read-aloud friendly, too dense for a beginning reader to sound out alone, but happily an older, more confident reader would not find this book childish.
This would be an outstanding addition to any bookshelf, especially perhaps a classroom looking to improve the cultural diversity of its offerings. Yet that is a bonus, because first and foremost, this was a good story, well told.
Perfect classroom book