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Children's LiteratureA "Robbie Reader," designed to interest new or older readers who may "take a little longer" learning to read, this short biography works well at conveying essential information about the creator of so many well-known childhood favorites. The five chapters of text is clear and chronological, with some attempt to place Ted Geisel within the world of reading and children's literature. The photographs are a problem, given that most are black and white reproductions of the stolid and seemingly humorless Geisel at work. Beyond one color photo of three covers of his beginning reader series and one open book portraying pages from another title, no pictures from the books that made him famous can be found, probably due to copyright restrictions. A timeline, index, some excellent (and more involving but more challenging) biography suggestions, and a website are suggested. Also problematic is the fractured phonetic pronunciation of difficult words, such as "animated" which suggests the accent is only on the third syllable. A partial selection of his publications strangely doesn't include such well-known books as Horton Hatches the Egg or Bartholemew and the 500 Hats. Overall, it's an adequate job for the third grade reader but Kathleen Krull's The Boy on Fairfield Street (Random House, 2004) is much more lively and more challenging. But this "Robbie Reader" might just send a reader to find out more. 2005, Mitchell Lane Publishers, Ages 7 to 10.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.