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What to do about Alice? : how Alice Roosevelt broke the rules, charmed the world, and drove her father Teddy crazy!

by Barbara Kerley


Syndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 9780439922319]

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Publishers Weekly :

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Starred Review. It's hard to imagine a picture book biography that could better suit its subject than this high-energy volume serves young Alice Roosevelt. Kerley (The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins) knows just how to introduce her to contemporary readers: Theodore Roosevelt had a small problem. It wasn't herding thousands of cattle across the Dakota badlands. He'd done that. It wasn't leading the Rough Riders.... He'd bagged a grizzly bear, captured outlaws, governed the state of New York, and served as vice president of the United States, and still he had a problem. Her name was Alice. Debut illustrator Fotheringham creates the perfect mood from the start: his stylish digital art sets a fast pace, making use of speed lines (rendered in dots, these earn their names) and multiple vignettes to evoke characters in perpetual motion. His compositions wittily incorporate headlines, iconic images and plenty of Alice blue, too. Kids will embrace a heroine who teaches her younger stepsiblings to sled down the White House stairs (Alice tried to be helpful, Kerley writes soberly as Fotheringham shows her in action), entertains dignitaries with her pet snake and captivates a nation with pranks and high jinks. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Syndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 9780439922319]

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School Library Journal :

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Starred Review. Gr 2–4—Kerley brings another historical figure to life. Alice Lee Roosevelt was President Theodore Roosevelt's only child by his first wife, who died two days after her birth. From the start, Alice's behavior was unconventional, and that pattern was to continue throughout her colorful life. 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. The energy in his pictures is palpable as when Alice is turned loose in her father's library and five Alices dart about followed by lines that trace her frenetic path as she reads eclectically and voraciously. The illustrations not only enhance but are frequently the source of humor: "Alice tried to be helpful. She watched her younger brothers and sister so her stepmother could get some rest." The picture depicts Alice and her siblings careening down the White House stairs on sleds. Alice blue, the color named after her eyes, swirls throughout in a subtle tribute. This book provides a fascinating glimpse into both a bygone era and one of its more interesting denizens as well as a surefire antidote for any child who thinks that historical figures are boring.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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BookList :

From BookList, January 1, 2008, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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*Starred Review* Irrepressible Alice Roosevelt gets a treatment every bit as attractive and exuberant as she was. The daughter of Theodore Roosevelt (and a mother who died soon after childbirth), Alice had a joie de vivre that she called "eating up the world." This energy exhibited itself in her joining an all-boys club, tramping around Washington, D.C., and, later, taking off on around-the-world adventures. Kerley's text has the same rambunctious spirit as its subject, grabbing readers from the first line: "Theodore Roosevelt had a small problem." Children will be impressed with the way Alice took control of her life: eschewing formal schooling, she convinced T. R. to "let her loose in his library." The large format gives Fotheringham, in his debut, plenty of room for spectacular art, which includes use of digital media. In almost every picture, Alice is running, motoring, racing. One clever spread shows what it was like to be a media princess: newspaper pages fly across the spread, obscuring Alice. There are a few flaws. Kids, who have a shaky sense of history, would have benefited from a time line, and quotes are barely sourced. These are small points, though, in an otherwise invigorating look at larger-than-life Alice. An afterword is appended. Cooper, Ilene.

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