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SKIT-SCAT RAGGEDY CAT by Roxane Orgill Kirkus Star

SKIT-SCAT RAGGEDY CAT

Ella Fitzgerald

By Roxane Orgill (Author) , Sean Qualls (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 11

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7636-1733-2
Publisher: Candlewick

The author of accomplished biographies about Mahalia Jackson, Fred and Adele Astaire and others contributes a gem about Fitzgerald’s early life in Yonkers and Harlem. The lively writing sings and swings along with Ella, who entertained schoolmates and danced for coins with her friend Charlie. Her mother’s untimely death engendered many bad turns: Petty crime earned Ella time in a cruelly operated orphanage upstate. Orgill clearly shows that Fitzgerald’s career and success were built on the winning combination of superb talent and sheer determination, with the teen, close to homeless, entering and winning amateur contests in Harlem. “She’d had a dancing beat in her feet ever since she was a bitty girl in Yonkers, and all she ever needed was a chance to send that beat traveling up through her body, into her throat, and out her mouth in a song.” Qualls’s sweet pictures, in signature tints of red and blue, convey the excitement of Harlem nightspots and provide pensive takes on the tough times Ella endured. The excellent annotated bibliography includes books, sound and video recordings and websites. (Picture book/biography. 5-11)