Thurgood Marshall's real name was "Thoroughgood", after his grandfather, who served in the Union Army during the Civil War. By the second grade, however, the boy was tired of writing out such a long name, so he shortened it to "Thurgood." It was just the first of many ways in which he was to make a name for himself. Through simple, straightforward text and low-key illustrations, this picture book biography provides the basic facts in a format friendly to the reluctant-or beginning-reader. Though Adler fails to cite references and perhaps even oversimplifies his subject at times, he places Marshall's achievements well within their historical context, offering a relatively balanced portrait of this great civil rights figure.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5Adler and Casilla offer a succinct, visually handsome presentation of the youth and the career highlights of the history-making Marshall. The early family years, with the strong influence of Thurgood's waiter father, who loved attending courtroom trials, and his teacher mother are perhaps the most interesting part of the story. Adler's terse account of the adult years incorporates brief quotes by Marshall and judicious explanations of key legal victories. Casilla's effective view of Marshall as a lawyer arguing before the Supreme Court places readers behind the row of justices, facing Marshall and the crowded courtroom. The warm, full- and double-page watercolor scenes and portraits throughout the book give an informative and empathetic view of the articulate civil rights champion. An author's note and a short chronology round out this well-crafted introduction to this impressive life of accomplishment.Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston