From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 3–8—Once again Rappaport celebrates a noble, heroic life in powerful, succinct prose, with prominent, well-chosen, and judiciously placed quotes that both instruct and inspire. From her lonely childhood to her transformative education in Europe and marriage to Franklin Roosevelt, the subject is portrayed as a serious, intelligent, hardworking humanitarian. Despite the picture-book format, students get enough background and information to appreciate the woman's outstanding qualities and contributions as well as enough details for reports. As in Martin's Big Words
(2001) and Abe's Honest Words
(2008, both Hyperion), each spread features the winning combination of the author's text, the subject's quotes, and evocative artwork. Personal notes from the author and illustrator are appended. The evocative pictures tell the story of both the subject and her country. Kelley's subtle use of contrast, such as Roosevelt's posh townhouse juxtaposed against a poorly lit tenement or Marian Anderson, clad in black, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, is quite powerful. Celebrate women in history and in politics with this picture-book life.—Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools
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*Starred Review* Even familiar political figures can get bold new treatments, as this dramatic picture-book biography shows. The wordless cover, featuring only the face of Eleanor Roosevelt, her expression one of hope mixed with purpose, immediately captures attention. Before the story begins, a double-page spread is offered with just the quote, “Do something every day that scares you.” The book then opens with glimpses of Eleanor’s early life: her mother thought her ugly, too serious, and called her Granny. After her parents’ death, she moved in with her grandmother, who “did everything she thought was right for a little girl except hug and kiss her.” The narrative moves swiftly through the important moments in Roosevelt’s life, including marriage and family, but along with accomplishments, Rappaport does something more subtle—she shows the way Eleanor grew into herself. Crisp sentences focus the narrative and are bolstered by the quotes that end each page. If the text has a smart spareness to it, the accompanying art is composed of rich, beautifully crafted paintings that also catch Roosevelt’s growing sense of purpose. There are a few quibbles—the quotes could have been more clearly sourced, and there’s no mention of FDR’s affairs, an important reason for Eleanor’s growth—but overall, this is an exciting introduction to a well-loved leader. Grades 2-5. --Ilene Cooper