From School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-This handsome picture-book biography explains how a pampered, privileged child grew up to be our 32nd president, serving longer than any other president in U.S. history. Krull tells readers, "He had long blond curls and wore dresses with fancy lace collars till he was almost six." His parents indulged his every wish and were quick to forgive any mischief, yet instilled a social conscience in their golden boy from an early age, urging him to "Help the helpless!" After a sheltered childhood of homeschooling, Franklin left for boarding school at age 14. Despite his parents' plans for him to be a gentleman like his father, he was inspired to enter the world of politics by the headmaster at Groton; his cousin Teddy; and his future wife, Eleanor. Stricken with polio at 39, Franklin struggled to regain his strength, reentering the political arena three years later. An epilogue explains the stock market crash, Great Depression, New Deal, fireside chats, and World War II. Filled with anecdotes and quotes, the text is concise and engaging, working well as a read-aloud or for independent reading. The rich, impressionistic oil and ink illustrations capture the spirit of the man and his time. Less wordy and more attractive than Judith St. George and Britt Spencer's Make Your Mark, Franklin Roosevelt (Philomel. 2007), this offering also covers more of the subject's life. Famous quotations are appended.-Barbara Auerbach, PS 217, Brooklyn, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Echoing the overall theme and presenting, by and large, the same material, this purposeful picture-book biography follows Judith St. George’s Make Your Mark, Franklin Roosevelt (2007) in tracing FDR’s path from birth (“All children like to think they’re the center of their universe. But a boy named FDR really was”) and schooling (“When he was put in charge of a dorm, he was a good leader, compassionate toward the new boys—the way he wished he’d been treated”) into public life. Awarding nods to the early influences of parents, a particular tutor, a schoolmaster, and cousin Teddy’s “zesty leadership,” Krull closes with FDR’s triumphant 1924 return to public life after being stricken with polio, summarizes the accomplishments of his later presidency, and ends with a combined list of dates and quotations. The figures in the large illustrations have a staid look, but FDR strikes appropriately heroic poses, and his outsize personality comes through clearly. Despite being a little loose in its chronology, this makes an acceptable introduction to our longest-serving president. Grades 3-5. --John Peters