cover image A Picture Book of Anne Frank

A Picture Book of Anne Frank

David A. Adler, Karen Ritz. Holiday House, $17.95 (29pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1003-3

This most recent addition to the Picture Book Biography series balances candor with discretion in its presentation of heroine Anne Frank. Adler traces the intersection of Anne's brief life with the forces of Nazism, chronicling the girl's earliest years in Germany as well as her time spent in the now-famous Amsterdam attic and the months following arrest and deportation. He refuses to apply the standard encomiums about his subject's courage and genius, with the result that Anne Frank emerges all the more poignantly. Like Adler, Ritz conveys more than familiar icons: she has executed black-and-white drawings closely based on the well-known extant photographs of Anne and her family and friends, and set these into watercolors of, for example, 1930s Germany or Anne packing her diary. Even her picture of shaven-headed, hollow-eyed Anne and Margot huddled together at Bergen-Belsen avoids cliche and condescension. ``Some people find it difficult to understand the Holocaust,'' Adler concludes with grace. ``But when they read Anne's diary, it all becomes real. Then they know one of the victims. They know Anne Frank.'' Ages 4-8 . (Apr.)