Franklin and Eleanor

Franklin and Eleanor

by Cheryl Harness
     
 

With a friendly narrative and sprightly illustrations, this dual biography relates how Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt came together to change the course of American history. Their strength of character and devotion to public service helped them buoy each other—and the nation—through World War I, FDR's polio, the Great Depression, World War II, and four

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Overview

With a friendly narrative and sprightly illustrations, this dual biography relates how Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt came together to change the course of American history. Their strength of character and devotion to public service helped them buoy each other—and the nation—through World War I, FDR's polio, the Great Depression, World War II, and four presidential terms of office. A family tree, chronology, and bibliography are included.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
In an introductory note, Harness (Rabble Rousers) describes the lives of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt as "a story of overcoming" and her cogent, at times stirring account underscores this assertion. Eleanor coped with an overly critical mother and a heavy-drinking father, both of whom died before she turned 10. Her grim, strong-willed grandmother insisted that Eleanor leave her French school near London at the age of 18 to be presented to "the highest society of New York." Later, Eleanor contended with an overbearing mother-in-law and the challenge of stepping into the spotlights of politics and social activism after her 39-year-old husband was paralyzed by polio. In addition to his physical trials, Franklin's high-profile ordeals included getting the Depression-ravaged country back on financial track and guiding the nation through WW II. Harness emphasizes the pivotal roles Eleanor played during both these challenging times, becoming her husband's "eyes and ears" as she crossed the country to determine "how the New Deal was and wasn't working" and traveling abroad to visit wounded servicemen. Harness neatly distills a traumatic, complex period of U.S. history while credibly portraying two inspiring personalities. Incorporating plentiful period details, Harness's dual-faceted art entails color pictures depicting scenarios in the Roosevelts' personal and public lives flanked by lifelike, monochromatic images of the principals at various stages. An equally informative and affecting picture book biography. Ages 7-up. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Harness turns her attention away from the Founding Fathers to focus on a more contemporary couple—the Roosevelts. Beginning with a family tree that clearly illustrates their close familial ties she proceeds to chronicle the lives of Eleanor and Franklin as two very complicated, compassionate people bound together in a profound symbiotic relationship. Alternating between the two personalities she writes honestly and directly of Eleanor's alcoholic father and her cold and distant mother as well as Franklin's overbearing mother, Sarah. While she steers clear of mentioning any trouble within the marriage, adult readers should glean that from subtleties within the narrative. What is obvious is Harness's admiration for this couple whose strength of character and devotion to one another and the public they were so committed to serve lead them to rise above personal tragedy and unite in a common cause. For young readers the Roosevelts serve as role models for overcoming disabilities—Franklin his polio and Eleanor her absolute fear of public speaking. Soft water color illustrations alternating between full color and a ghostly blue wash convey both the pain and joy of their lives both separate and together. The pages with their warm marble borders outlined in red and the pinstripe endpapers are as dignified and classy as their subjects. As an introduction to an extraordinary couple this is one of the best. 2004, Dutton, Ages 9 to 12.
—Beverley Fahey
Kirkus Reviews
"The story of Franklin and Eleanor is a story of overcoming," Harness writes, and in developing that theme, she pays heartfelt tribute to two lives united by a dedication to service. Opening with a Roosevelt family tree, the author tells their tales in parallel passages-how shy ugly-duckling Eleanor only slowly threw off the influences of a disappointed mother and an overbearing mother-in-law, while Franklin's stubborn battle with polio "taught the young prince of Springwood humility and an understanding of what it was like to be helpless." She illustrates with unusually restrained (for her) foreground scenes, flanked by pale, accurate portraits that trace the two principals from youth to old age. The closing resource list is aimed at older readers, but younger ones will come away with a clear sense of the personal qualities that Franklin and Eleanor brought to their partnership, and why, for their accomplishments, they "will always stand tall in the story of their country." (Picture-book biography. 9-11)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525472599
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
12/16/2004
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 10.60(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
8 - 7 Years

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