cover image That’s Betty! The Story of Betty White (Who Did It First?)

That’s Betty! The Story of Betty White (Who Did It First?)

Gregory Bonsignore, illus. by Jennifer M. Potter. Holt, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-250-79660-8

When the narrator is assigned to write a class report on a “trailblazing woman” and picks Betty White (b. 1922), the response is somewhat underwhelming: both his teacher and one of his fathers suggest that the black-haired, brown-skinned child pick someone “more traditional.” But the boy persists—he owns a Betty White–emblazoned T-shirt, after all—and while researching the life of the actor and animal activist who has “had the longest career in the history of television,” he receives extra tidbits from a mysterious, dark glasses and concealing hat–wearing Betty White expert. When the child makes his presentation—proudly wearing a blonde wig and pearls—his expert reveals her identity. Potter’s (Voices of Justice) gouache and digital illustrations have a snapshot feel that occasionally teeter on static, but the story still moves along at a brisk clip; readers unfamiliar with White will find something to admire in her pioneering gumption and willingness to stand up for what’s right. Bonsignore handles all the details of White’s long life with elan, including her three marriages (“Well, third time’s the charm, kid!”), in this irrepressible picture book debut. Back matter includes a timeline, photographs, and selected sources. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)