ROSETTA, ROSETTA, SIT BY ME! by Linda Walvoord


Age Range: 6 - 10
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A small slice of history on a very big plate. Walvoord takes the story of Rosetta, the oldest daughter of Frederick and Anna Douglass, in a few weeks at a private school and turns it into a chapter book. When Rochester public schools insist that Rosetta attend the “colored” school across town, Mr. Douglass enrolls his daughter in a nearby private school. When the nervous girl arrives on the first day, the headmistress insists that she learn and play by herself. Though the students and most of the parents stand behind Rosetta, one parent doesn’t, so the headmistress expels her. With an older Rosetta reflecting on her life, readers do feel her pain and humiliation, but much of the emotion is lost in the leaden prose, filled with gratuitous references to Frederick Douglass. Walvoord has done her research—and the story feels like a vehicle for it—rehashing much of it in the 20-plus pages of endnotes and four-page time line. A nonfiction picture book would have been a better format for this interesting bit of civil rights history so that invented dialogue wouldn’t have been necessary. (historical notes, timeline, author’s notes, primary and secondary source references) (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-7614-5171-4
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2004