Mahalia's childhood in New Orleans where she was raised by a religious aunt, her work in the garden or catching crabs for dinner (and sometimes a small alligator for breakfast), or cutting wood from old barges for the fire. . . her move to another aunt in Chicago where she worked as a laundress but also raised dimes singing for enthusiastic congregations around town. . . her successful world tours and TV concert, then home to New Orleans where she still couldn't get a cold drink in a restaurant. . . her charity, civil rights support and rejection of bitterness. . . McDearmon tells the affecting story simply, with a minimum of static; the Washingtons' high contrast black and white illustrations crackle dramatically, though with less point.