Rosie’s Dream Cape

By (author): Zelda Freedman

Illustrated by: Silvana Bevilacqua

Based on a true story, this charming juvenile novel tells of how eleven-year-old Rosie and her grandmother Bubba Sarah arrive in Toronto from Russia after fleeing one of the purges that carried away Rosie’s mother, a famous Russian dancer. To help make ends meet, Rosie works in Yitzy’s factory sewing velvet capes for Eatons, all the while dreaming of making such a cape from scraps, and wearing it to Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre.

Although Yitzy warns Rosie, “don’t steal the scraps,” she cannot resist, and each evening when she dumps the scraps in the garbage, she hides the best ones in her apron. At home, she sews her cape. One of the girls sees Rosie stealing scraps, and threatens to tell. Frightened, Rosie returns the cape and confesses. Yitzy is furious. Since he needs his order of capes finished by Christmas, and Rosie is the best “finisher,” he makes her work late, work Sundays, and withholds her pay.

Then things get worse. The inspectors show up, and Rosie is facedwith tremendous obstacles. However, by her own hard work, and a stroke of luck, Rosie’s dream comes true. And Yitzy delivers his capes on time to Eatons. This tale provides a wonderful insight into how an immigrant child survives with her values and dreams intact despite the harsh working conditions of a 1921 garment factory.


Zelda Freedman

Zelda Freedman was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario. When she learned of her mother Rosie’s experiences as a very young girl in a sweatshop in Toronto, she promised to tell her story. Rosie’s Dream Cape is Freedman’s first children’s book, although she has been a professional writer in the medical field for the past several years. She is the mother of four and the grandmother of one. She is a painter, potter, weaver and accomplished seamstress. She continues to pursue her artistic talents with the same joy and enthusiasm that her mother displayed.


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116 Pages
7.63in * 5.25in * .31in


April 15, 2005


Ronsdale Press



Book Subjects:

JUVENILE FICTION / Biographical / General

Featured In:

Middle Grade



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