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JOSÉ! BORN TO DANCE by Susanna Reich Kirkus Star


The Story of José Limón

by Susanna Reich & illustrated by Raúl Colón

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-689-86576-7
Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

This first introduction for children to renowned dancer and choreographer José Limón pairs equally soaring text and visuals. Born “kicking like a roped steer,” young Limón moved with his family from Mexico to California during the Mexican Revolution, made his way to New York during the ‘20s, and after searching for an artistic vocation, found his life’s work in the modern art dance of Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, creating “dances sweet as birdsong—TRILLIA-WEET! / Hot as the desert sun--¡Sí! ¡Sí! / Sad as broken dreams—O, soñador.” Focusing mainly on Limón’s childhood, Colón takes him from cradle to curtain call in a series of portraits that captures his strength and grace perfectly. Reich’s narrative neatly draws together both his search for a medium of artistic expression that was right for him (he was talented in music and visual arts, too), and the influence of early incidents, sights and even sounds on his mature style. She closes with a triple “BRAVO!” that readers will certainly echo, plus an extended biographical note and a select list of resources in several media. An inspiring tribute to a major figure in the arts, featuring some of Colón’s most moving, powerful work yet. (Picture book/biography. 7-9)