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Lives of the Writers: Comedies, Tragedies (and What the Neighbors Thought) Hardcover – September 26, 1994


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Lives of the Writers: Comedies, Tragedies (and What the Neighbors Thought) + Lives of the Artists: Masterpieces, Messes (and What the Neighbors Thought) + Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (and What the Neighbors Thought)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1070L (What's this?)
  • Series: Lives Of . . .
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1 edition (September 26, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152480099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152480097
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.4 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #479,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As seductive as Krull and Hewitt's Lives of the Musicians, this compendium of brief biographies of literary luminaries is as much fun as a tete-a-tete with a gossipy friend. Krull knows exactly how to captivate her audience; she goes right for the juicy stuff, adding to historical fact the kind of chatty incidentals and amusing anecdotes that put flesh and blood on dry literary bones. Hans Christian Andersen, for example, "was known to hug trees," and Edgar Allan Poe, at 27, married his 13-year-old cousin. Emily Dickinson and Mark Twain shared an eccentricity-they both dressed solely in white. Jane Austen ate chocolate for breakfast, and Jack London liked to pose outrageous challenges to his houseguests-swallowing live goldfish, perhaps, or pushing peanuts up their noses. These exuberant thumbnail sketches are ably matched by Hewitt's sophisticated caricatures, which will delight sharp-eyed readers with their many visual references to particulars and oddities about each of the subjects. A must-have for the reference shelf. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4 Up-Employing the lively format that worked so well in Lives of the Musicians (Harcourt, 1993), Krull and Hewitt present the brief histories of 20 classic writers-warts and all. Most are novelists and poets whose names, and possibly whose works, will be familiar to the intended audience. A wide variety of cultures and a generous proportion of women are represented. Krull organizes her biographical sketches chronologically, moving from Japan (Murasaki Shikibu, author of Tale of the Genji) through the centuries with Shakespeare, Cervantes, the Brontes, Twain, Poe, Zora Neale Hurston, and ending with Isaac Bashevis Singer. The glimpses she provides are respectful of their times and influences without being dull. The dry essentials are dealt with in the headings of each chapter. The rest is the juicy stuff-what the writers ate, the pets they kept, what they wore (with a healthy interest in underwear), their writing habits, eccentricities and scandals, and what people thought of them. Brief sections entitled "Bookmarks" highlight a few of their works. A one-page glossary of literary terms, a short index, and a child-focused bibliography complete the book. Hewitt maintains a light touch in her full-page caricatures by balancing fully realized facial portraits on small bodies surrounded by representative objects. The handsomely mounted text is larded with small pictorial reminders of the content. There's enough substance here for a quick report or to enliven a longer one. Let's hope this team continues through all the arts. An irresistible package.
Sally Margolis, Deerfield Public Library, IL
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

KATHLEEN KRULL is well known for her innovative, award-winning nonfiction for young readers, which includes the successful Lives of... series. Kathleen Krull lives in San Diego, CA. Visit her at www.kathleenkrull.com AND http://facebook.com/kathleen.krull

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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It will encourage them to read and research more about these and other writers.
Mari Cristi
This book is great for kids and students to use as a report source as it is filled with great information.
Angie
Nevertheless, this is a good, witty, and light book, and it is a welcome addition to Krull's series.
Peanutbudder

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn R. Ziemnik on May 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"How can you print a piece of your own soul," Dickinson, p. 51
This is the 2nd in the Krull and Hewitt's "Lives of ..." series. The book contains 19 chapters on 20 writers in birth order: Murasaki Shikibu (973?-1025?), Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Jane Austen (1775-1817), Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), Charles Dickens (1812-1870), Charlotte & Emily Bronte (1816-1855 & 1818-1848), Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), Mark Twain (1835-1910), Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924), Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), Jack London (1876-1916), Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), E. B. White (1899-1985), Zora Neale Hurston (1901?-1960), Langston Hughes (1902-1967), Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-1991)
This is a perfect book for young adolescents and pre-teens who as they grow and mature frequently feel awkward. Krull introduces us to the idiosyncrasies of the literary. Some of the authors were loners, eccentric, a wee bit peculiar. Michael Jackson's behaviors might seem normal when held in comparison. Some retreated into themselves. Some sought out adventures. Some as adults were unsuccessful at the ordinary.
Some worked at a young age to support the family. Some took daily walks, very long daily walks. Some were not healthy and therefore wrote in bed. There were some similarities and some differences, but they all shared a singular conviction to write and write they each did well.
Hewitt's delightful portraits of the writers are precious. My favorite portrait is of Frances Hodgson Burnett of "The Secret Garden" fame. Her hat is the secret garden.
Given the high price of the book, I was surprised that Krull did not include a list of the authors' books and/or poems and the publication years. END
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Angie on March 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is a fun and informative book. The pictures are filled with humorous meanings and hidden information. The book keeps the reader's attention by keeping the included information short and simple, but also makes sure that the reader gets as much possible about the author. This book is great for kids and students to use as a report source as it is filled with great information. Kids would rather use this book as an information source rather than an encylopedia since the information is easy to understand. Authors in there are some you may not know, ( Murasaki Shikibu) and some well know ones ( Charles Dickens). I am glad I purchsed this book. I really liked the pictures which are so vibrant with color. This would make a great buy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Peanutbudder on April 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is another charming addition to Krull's outstanding series. I have read all but one of the books and was very excited about Lives of the Writers, since writing is my area of expertise. The illustrations were lovely, as always, but the writing (of all things!) lacked vigour, droning on with archaic facts about the authors. Towards the end I had trouble identifying the authors or the books they are most famous for. Krull would have been better served to write about familiar, yet interesting authors, such as J.R.R. Tolkien or Lucy Maud Montgomery, as opposed to Zora Neale Hurston and Isaac Bashevis Singer.

Nevertheless, this is a good, witty, and light book, and it is a welcome addition to Krull's series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Brazier VINE VOICE on September 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
LIVES OF THE WRITERS: COMEDIES, TRAGEDIES (WHAT THE NEIGHBORS THOUGHT) is a long title for such a little book! However, the book is long enough for what it is: a voyeuristic peek into secret details about writers that are not included in many biographies. This little book of little-known facts is witty and interesting. There is one prerequisite to enjoying this book, though: the reader should already know the writers fairly well in order to enjoy these snippets. This is not a detailed biography, but it sure is fun for those readers who already know the writers! Enjoy!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ashley alder on September 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Kathleen Krull's Lives of the Writers Comedies, Tragedies (and What the Neighbors Thought) was an exceptionally informative book for young readers. Krull presented basic biographical information for up to nineteen well-known authors from the past and more resent times. Along with this standard information, Krull also offered not-so-common facts about the life, personalities, and actions of the authors. While reading the book, I found myself feeling as if I had came to know some the authors as a person rather than simply an author from the past. Also, I enjoyed the illustrators' drawings of the each author. The illustrations seemed to add a bit of humor and light-heartedness to the information. I believe this book would serve as a great introductory tool for students of various ages.
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