FRANKLIN AND ELEANOR

Cheryl Harness, Author . Dutton $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-525-47259-9

In an introductory note, Harness (Rabble Rousers) describes the lives of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt as "a story of overcoming" and her cogent, at times stirring account underscores this assertion. Eleanor coped with an overly critical mother and a heavy-drinking father, both of whom died before she turned 10. Her grim, strong-willed grandmother insisted that Eleanor leave her French school near London at the age of 18 to be presented to "the highest society of New York." Later, Eleanor contended with an overbearing mother-in-law and the challenge of stepping into the spotlights of politics and social activism after her 39-year-old husband was paralyzed by polio. In addition to his physical trials, Franklin's high-profile ordeals included getting the Depression-ravaged country back on financial track and guiding the nation through WW II. Harness emphasizes the pivotal roles Eleanor played during both these challenging times, becoming her husband's "eyes and ears" as she crossed the country to determine "how the New Deal was and wasn't working" and traveling abroad to visit wounded servicemen. Harness neatly distills a traumatic, complex period of U.S. history while credibly portraying two inspiring personalities. Incorporating plentiful period details, Harness's dual-faceted art entails color pictures depicting scenarios in the Roosevelts' personal and public lives flanked by lifelike, monochromatic images of the principals at various stages. An equally informative and affecting picture book biography. Ages 7-up. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 01/17/2005
Release date: 01/01/2005
Genre: Children's
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