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Krystyna Poray Goddu has been a writer and editor for more than thirty years; her books include Dollmakers and Their Stories: Women Who Changed the World of Play, and A Girl Called Vincent: A Biography of Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, both middle-grade nonfiction. Her writing for children has also appeared in American Girl magazine. She reviews and writes about children's books for Publishers Weekly and The New York Times Book Review. In addition to her writing and editing experience, she has worked in school libraries and taught writing to middle-school students in independent schools in New York City. She holds a degree in comparative literature from Brown University.
A whimsical approach to biographies sure to appeal to young readers. While promoting inquiry-inspired learning, the question-and-answer format also invites confusion by juxtaposing a cartoon with a real person's story that might leave children wondering what's real. Then there's the 'time-difference factor': Cub asks questions in the present tense, and 'respondents, ' all dead, answer thus--and compare their lives to today. Finally, a disclaimer in each title concedes the 'interviews' aren't each subject's actual spoken words but comprise accurate, researched facts about his/her life. Younger students won't get the distinction. Other missteps: Earhart's disappearance is mentioned only in her time line; Douglass includes the question 'What did you think about being a slave?'. Still, these overviews give a sense of who these people were and are filled with color and high-quality contemporary photos and other visuals. VERDICT: Despite hiccups, a good introduction to biographies, with Sequoyah, Paul Revere, and Wilma Rudolph the best of the series.--School Library Journal, Series Made Simple-- "Journal" (4/1/2016 12:00:00 AM)