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Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott (Christy Ottaviano Books) Paperback – November 11, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Grade 3–6—McDonough has captured the essence of Alcott's fascinating life story in this picture book. Her narrative is anecdotal, focusing on events that influenced the writer's life and work. For example, she explains that Alcott was once saved from drowning by a "kind black boy" and how that experience motivated her abolitionist efforts later in life. The writing is simple, straightforward, and well paced. The author gives a balanced treatment of Alcott's early, middle, and later life. Interesting supplemental material includes a recipe for Alcott's favorite dessert. Andersen's stylized illustrations are done in warm oranges, rich blues, and dark greens. Rather than being pictorially or historically precise, they reflect the mood of the text by varying proportions and adding textures. The resulting images are bold, intense, and dramatic. Alexandra Wallner's An Alcott Family Christmas (Holiday House, 1996) is similar in length and reading level but focuses on just one year in Alcott's childhood. Christin Ditchfield's Louisa May Alcott: Author of Little Women (Children's Press, 2005) is a good choice for report writers. McDonough's title is for those looking for a short, accessible introduction to an amazing life.—Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Enchanting gouache and pastel paintings adorn this thorough biography of Little Women author Alcott. …McDonough's (The Doll with the Yellow Star) plainspoken narrative, confined to filmy, rectangular canvases on each page, provides numerous anecdotes to keep the story paced and interesting.” ―Publishers Weekly
“McDonough clearly lays out the essentials of Alcott's life story...Andersen's gouache-and-pastel illustrations use strong shapes and rich colors to create iconic images. Textured gold backgrounds, dynamic and luminous, isolate the people portrayed from their everyday surroundings and intensify the pictures' emotional content.” ―Booklist
“Middle-graders will be charmed by this first look at one of America's most beloved authors.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“McDonough has captured the essence of Alcott's fascinating life story in this picture book… McDonough's title is for those looking for a short, accessible introduction to an amazing life.” ―School Library Journal
“The result is an introductory biography that offers primary as well as secondary appeal; evincing some of the same charm as the subject's famous works.” ―BCCB
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This book is about Louisa May Alcott starts with her birth, follows her throughout her childhood. Teaches us about what type of child she was and about her families hardships they had to endure including the many, many times they had to move due to the way her Father believed in a world of slavery. Later she decided she wanted to help in the war effort so she volunteers and becomes a nurse to wounded soldiers from the Civil War. Teaches us about when she first started writing and who encouraged her throughout. Follows her until her death.
What I enjoyed also in addition to the 'storybook' format this is written in. Was in the back the author added 'additional' information of a few people whom was monumental in her life. She raised her niece for 8 years until she died and Ms McDonough allows us readers to know what happened to the younger Louisa after she had to go back and live with her Dad. She also includes a timeline of Ms Alcott's life putting into perspective when you see dates and events in a format together. And the author includes her own Bibliography so as a reader you could check out the same books she used in her research. Very well done!
The family actually bordered on poverty, but the family remained close. Her father was overly generous with money when he had it and had a tendency to "give much of it away to people who were worse off than his family." The family had pillow fights, conducted plays, had "strawberry parties out in the woods" and simply enjoyed life with one another. Louisa's favorite subjects in school were "reading, writing, history, and geography." She began to write at an early age and wrote in a journal. There was little money to be made from writing, but after the Civil War she began to write of her experiences helping in hospitals. Then a publisher thought she might be able to write a "girls book." Perhaps that was something she knew about, but she was worried it would be a flop. Would she waste her time writing about four sisters?
The aura of this whole book is quite dreamlike and Victorian, a quality that is very complimentary to her memory. I loved the ease of the writing and the beautiful full page, vibrant art work meshed very well with this biography. I think what I liked the most about this book was the sense of camaraderie I felt with Louisa and the importance of family in her life. In the back of the book are several of her impressions on life, two childhood poems, additional facts about her, a recipe for New England Apple Slump, a bibliography and a timeline of important dates in her life. If you are a fan of Little Women, this lovely biography may give you more insight into her family life and how it is reflected in her work.
This new picture book sheds light on what a noble soul Louisa had, filled of generosity, integrity and character. Highly recommended especially for young readers who love the wonderful Little Women author.
Most recent customer reviews
This remarkable story is very clearly outlined by Ms. McDonough and beautifully portrayed in the lovely illustrations credited to...Read more