I had to smile as I read this book. Mary Walker was a lady who knew her own mind and heart and lived according to her beliefs regardless of what other...moreI had to smile as I read this book. Mary Walker was a lady who knew her own mind and heart and lived according to her beliefs regardless of what others said or did. She was mocked and gossiped about at all levels of society, she was even jailed at one time for daring to wear pants at a time when women were expected to wear only long dresses and skirts. She also made her way through medical school and fought her way into the army to work as a surgeon during the Civil War. Her courage both on the front lines and behind the front lines earned her the Medal of Honor. While she didn't live to see women get the right to vote she did much to encourage women and men to fight for their civil rights. Not only is this a fascinating story, but a great biography. It's challenging to write a biography this short, but Harness does a great job giving the reader a glimpse of the brave woman that was Mary Walker as well as a glimpse of a time that isn't as long past as it might seem. Another great picture book biography, a must have for schools and public libraries alike. (less)
I am delighted to see more and more picture book biographies being published. This makes it so much easier to share biographies with younger children....moreI am delighted to see more and more picture book biographies being published. This makes it so much easier to share biographies with younger children. At the same time, picture book biographies have to be carefully done in order to provide enough information without going overboard. I mean how do you provide just enough information to help the reader get an idea of what the person was like, without getting bogged down in details? I firmly believe that it is an art form. Picture books are an art in and of themselves, but picture book biographies require an even more careful hand because the characters are real. Audrey Vernick does a fantastic job of this in Brothers at Bat.
Vernick provides enough information to give the reader a taste of what the people are like, without losing her focus on a baseball team made up of only brothers. Sixteen children, twelve of whom were boys, I can only admire their parents. I appreciated the small touches that made the family seem so real, things like the slam, slam, slam of the door as the boys raced out to play. The sharing of beds, the individual portraits that show the familial similarity but also individual differences, all added to the story.
The illustrations are gorgeous and appealing. I'm always amazed when illustrators can create faces from a few lines and shapes. Salerno does a great job of this.
If you are looking for more great picture book biographies, I highly recommend this one.(less)