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Just Being Audrey Hardcover – January 25, 2011
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It’s hard to believe life for Audrey Hepburn was ever anything but smart clothes, quirky expressions, and wistful gazes into the eyes of Cary Grant, but Cardillo makes a strong case to the contrary. Growing up in WWII–era Europe, Audrey wanted only to be a dancer, but the other girls made fun of her physical hurdles: “She was too tall, her feet were too big, and her neck was too long,” and “her eyes seemed too big for her head.” Young readers will get the message: these were precisely the traits that made Audrey an iconic beauty as an adult. In short order, she was spotted by entertainment heavyweights for her je ne sais quoi and quickly catapulted to fame. Denos’ soft pastel illustrations cut just the right Audrey outline (complete with flapping neck scarf), and fans will especially enjoy picking out the movie roles depicted in a two-page spread of costumes. Her later humanitarian deeds are given their due, but it is Audrey’s simple kindness that is emphasized throughout. Grades 1-3. --Daniel Kraus
“Denos’ soft pastel illustrations cut just the right Audrey outline (complete with flapping neck scarf), and fans will especially enjoy picking out the movie roles depicted in a two-page spread of costumes.” (Booklist)
“Audrey Hepburn proves as irresistible a character in the pages of a children’s book as she is in those soigné roles of the silver screen.” (Publishers Weekly)
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To be kind above all, a message Hepburn's mother, a baroness, instilled in Audrey, is timely in our age of a disturbing increase in bullying as a result of ignorance of differences and issues of diversity. It is a welcome theme throughout the book and one that children respond very well to. Audrey always felt different, but with her mother's significant encouragement we learn how she turns her unique qualities into strength of character. It is her strength of spirit that forges an unforgettable film career as well as a life that is dedicated to her own cherished children and, later in life, to children around the globe through UNICEF.
Just Being Audrey is a beautifully written and illustrated children's book and a special gift to older generations who have grown up loving Audrey Hepburn.