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Children's LiteratureHere the life of the pioneering nurse, Florence Nightingale, is told in 228 words. A time line at the bottom of each page helps the reader follow the events of her life from 1820 when she was born in Florence, Italy, through her nursing career until her death in 1910. Pictures on facing pages are an excellent complement to the biographical information. Although the book says "Florence...made the hospital clean and safe" and mentions that she told leaders in Great Britain how to make hospitals clean and safe, I'm not sure children will get the point that hospitals at that time were dirty, unsafe and in desperate need of change and that changing any established system has always been very difficult. Her struggle to effect the changes seems to me an essential part of her story. Otherwise, children, who have an image of hospitals as clean and safe places, are likely to think, "so what." The publisher's web site notes that the books in the Pebbles' "First Biographies" series "offer carefully constructed, leveled texts and feature repetitive, controlled sentence structures, close picture-text matches, and ample sight words to make books accessible to early readers." The series about great American historical figures looks at the lives of Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earhart, Harriet Tubman, Jane Goodall, and John F. Kennedy, among others. The books include a glossary, reading list, Internet resources and an index. 2005, Capstone Press, Ages 4 to 8.
—Janet Crane Barley