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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Nonfiction Review: What to Do About Alice? by Barbara Kerley



WHAT TO DO ABOUT ALICE? by Barbara Kerley


1.  BIBLIOGRAPHY
Kerley, Barbara. 2008. WHAT TO DO ABOUT ALICE? Ill. Edwin Fotheringham. New York, NY: Scholastic Press. ISBN: 978-0439922319

2.  PLOT SUMMARY 
As the daughter of Theodore Roosevelt, Alice Roosevelt was expected to act like a little lady.  However, that is not the case as Alice has a personality all her own.  Growing up with a father for a politician, Alice was able to do and see things most young girls her age could only dream of.  But, it does come with a price, as personal freedoms and choices are in full view of the public for praise and criticism. 

 3. CRITICAL ANALYSIS 
Kerley, joined with illustrator Edwin Fotheringham, delivers the life and escapades of Alice Roosevelt in this fun, colorful, and factual book about the daughter of Theodore Roosevelt.  Since she was a very young girl, there was something different and special about Alice.  She saw the world in a very fresh and energetic way and explained her zest for meeting people and traveling as “eating up the world.”  Losing her mother two days after she was born was not something Alice wanted to be pitied for.  Nor did she want anyone saying, “The poor little thing!” when she had to wear leg braces for several years because her legs weren’t growing properly.  She was so carefree and more like a tomboy than a little lady, that her father threatened to send her to a boarding school to teach her proper manners.  Alice knew how to get her way, though. She cried and cried until her father gave in and ended up letting her teach herself at home in his library a variety of subjects from astronomy to Greek grammar.  As a young adult, Alice gained the love and adoration of not only her own country, but internationally as well.  As much as her father wanted her out of the media, she was “Princess Alice” to them and would never be left alone.  And she wouldn’t want it any other way.

Kerley organizes the book in a timeline format, starting when Alice is born up to a little after she is married to Congressman Nicholas Longworth.  The illustrations compliment the design and style of the book which displays Alice as a likeable, yet rebellious girl who wants to enjoy life as much as she possibly can.   The artwork is bold and eye-catching for the reader who will enjoy Alice’s happy-go-lucky outlook on life and who almost seems to enjoy driving her father crazy.  This story of Alice Roosevelt is great for young readers ages 7-10.  The picture book style of this non-fiction text will easily sustain the reader’s attention and allow them to not only enjoy Fotheringham's lively illustrations, but to learn something as well.

4. REVIEW EXCERPT(S)
BOOKLIST starred review: "Irrepressible Alice Roosevelt gets a treatment every bit as attractive and exuberant as she was....The large format gives Fotheringham, in his debut, plenty of room for spectacular art."

KIRKUS starred review: "Theodore Roosevelt s irrepressible oldest child receives an appropriately vivacious appreciation in this superb picture book.... Kerley’s precise text presents readers with a devilishly smart, strong-willed girl who was determined to live life on her own terms and largely succeeded.”

SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL starred review: "Kerley’s text gallops along with a vitality to match her subject s antics, as the girl greets White House visitors accompanied by her pet snake, refuses to let leg braces cramp her style, dives fully clothed into a ship’s swimming pool, and also earns her place in history as one of her father s trusted advisers. Fotheringham’s digitally rendered, retro-style illustrations are a superb match for the text."

 5. CONNECTIONS
* This book is great to share with young readers grades 2nd-5thto teach a biography lesson on Alice Roosevelt and promote non-fiction texts. 

*Collect other books by Barbara Kerley: THOSE REBELS, JOHN AND TOM, THE DINOSAURS OF WATERHOUSE HAWKINS, THE EXTRAORDINARY MARK TWAIN (ACCORDING TO SUSY), WALT WHITMAN: WORDS FOR AMERICA, A COOL DRINK OF WATER, and A LITTLE PEACE.

*Other books about Alice Roosevelt:
Cordery, Stacy A. ALICE: ALICE ROOSEVELT LONGWORTH, FROM WHITEHOUSE PRINCESS TO WASHINGTON POWER BROKER. ISBN: 978-0143114277
Kimmelman, Leslie. MIND YOUR MANNERS, ALICE ROOSEVELT! Ill. Adam Gustavson. ISBN: 978-1561454921

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