Eleanor

Overview

Though she came from a wealthy and privileged family, Eleanor Roosevelt grew up in a cheerless household that left her lonely and shy. Years passed before Eleanor began to discover in herself the qualities of intelligence, compassion, and strength that made her a remarkable woman. In Eleanor, two-time Caldecott Medal winner Barbara Cooney paints a meticulously researched, lushly detailed picture of Eleanor's childhood world—but most importantly, she captures the essence of the little girl whose indomitable spirit...

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Overview

Though she came from a wealthy and privileged family, Eleanor Roosevelt grew up in a cheerless household that left her lonely and shy. Years passed before Eleanor began to discover in herself the qualities of intelligence, compassion, and strength that made her a remarkable woman. In Eleanor, two-time Caldecott Medal winner Barbara Cooney paints a meticulously researched, lushly detailed picture of Eleanor's childhood world—but most importantly, she captures the essence of the little girl whose indomitable spirit would make her one of the greatest and most beloved first ladies of all time.
"There are many biographies of Eleanor Roosevelt, but this one is special-Cooney is at her artistic best." —Booklist

Presents the childhood of Eleanor Roosevelt, who married a president of the United States and became known as a great humanitarian.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The privileged though painful childhood of First Lady and humanitarian Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) is chronicled with tenderness and care in Caldecott Medalist Cooney's (Emily; The Ox-Cart Man) memorable picture book biography. Skillfully compressing a bounty of detail, the author/artist focuses on Eleanor's emotional life as a childhood "ugly duckling": "From the beginning the baby was a disappointment to her mother," Cooney begins. The tale ends with Eleanor's years at Allenswood, the English boarding school whose gifted headmistress helped transform Eleanor into a confident young woman. Cooney wisely refrains from specifically naming the Roosevelt family, allowing children to experience the text as an entertaining story as well as a piece of history. Creamy, reverently rendered paintings portray fashionable Manhattan, Hudson River Valley and Long Island settings; Cooney's intricate reproductions of houses and her recreations of period clothing and interiors are pleasures to behold as well as visual history lessons. An afterword sheds light on Eleanor Roosevelt's career (but would have benefited from the inclusion of her birth, marriage and death dates); most readers will probably want to explore more fully the groundbreaking achievements outlined here. Ages 5-up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
One of the most politically active and revered women in America was Eleanor Roosevelt. She is the focus of a new picture book biography, Eleanor. Cooney captures the childhood of Roosevelt; her seriousness, her exposure to helping those less fortunate, her adventures with "Uncle Ted," and her boarding school years where her headmistress Mlle. Souvestre praised her intellect, sensitivity, and caring. The book is a composite of meaningful vignettes that don't shy away from the disappointments and heartaches of Eleanor's childhood. In these childhood scenes, one can see how her early years planted the seeds that blossomed into a career of active social responsibility later in life. Cooney gives an eloquent introduction to the life of this noble woman.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3Cooney once again brings her unique vision to biography. Beginning the story with Eleanor's Roosevelt's mother's disappointment at her birth, the author emphasizes the girl's lonely and often fearful childhood. By the time she was nine, both of her parents were dead, and she lived with her grandmother. At 15, Eleanor was sent to boarding school in London; when she returned home three years later, she had gained a confident understanding of her own unique strengths. The book ends with Eleanor's public role still to come. A brief afterword provides information about her worldwide influence in her later life. For young readers, however, the important story is of Eleanor's childhood and the many problems she overcame. Cooney's paintings are well suited to her subject and convey a sense of the past through muted colors and careful details. By showing the young Eleanor at the fringes of the pictures on many pages, the artist emphasizes her subject's isolation and loneliness. Toward the end of the story, however, Eleanor is squarely in the center of the page. Cooney thus accentuates Eleanor's coming out, her character now fully formed in all its quiet dignity.Barbara Kiefer, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY
Kirkus Reviews
"From the beginning the baby was a disappointment to her mother," Cooney (The Story of Christmas, 1995, etc.) begins in this biography of Eleanor Roosevelt. She is a plain child, timid and serious; it is clear that only a few people loved her. After her parents die, she is cared for in the luxurious homes of wealthy relatives, but does not find acceptance until she arrives in a British boarding school, where she thrives on the attention of the headmistress, who guides, teaches, and inspires her. Cooney does not gloss over the girl's misery and disappointments; she also shows the rare happy times and sows the seeds of Eleanor's future work. The illustrations of house interiors often depict Eleanor as an isolated, lonely figure, her indistinct face and hollow eyes watching from a distance the human interactions she does not yet enjoy. Paintings reveal the action of a steamship collision; the hectic activity of a park full of children and their governesses; a night full of stars portending the girl's luminous future. The image of plain Eleanor being fitted with her first beautiful dress is an indelible one. Readers will be moved by the unfairness of her early life and rejoice when she finds her place in the world. An author's note supplies other relevant information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140555837
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 233,964
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.13 (d)

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