Children's LiteratureThis small format biography (about 6 inches square) has a lot to say about Jeff Bezos, the innovative life he's led and the technological/Internet frontiers he's crossed. His young life was one that today's children can relate to�with a blended family, television heroes and favorite toys feeding his imagination and occupying his time. He was a good student and well-liked by classmates, though he described himself as a nerd. Through well-timed career choices, lots of experience in many different fields and the courage to take chances rather than maintain a safe course in his life, Jeff Bezos became the successful, innovative and wealthy entrepreneur that he is today. The book is written with a positive, supportive tone towards both the man and the Internet mega-store that he created. But the problems that have existed and that continue to plague the company are not ignored. With an index and list of resources for further researching, this book would be helpful to report writers and other information seekers. And, thanks to good biographical writing and interesting "techie" inserts, this book will please recreational readers as well. 2001, 17th Street Productions/Millbrook Press, $21.90. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Judy Katsh
VOYAWith a breezy style, short length, large font, numerous photographs, and attractive page design, books in the Techies series provide quick reads and laudatory profiles of major tech world figures. Each volume contains information about the subject's childhood, creativeness, struggle to achieve, and successes and failures. The books also contain a brief look at the changing technology marketplace with its fierce competition. Several one- to two-page sections of Tech Talk explore in simple terms such major technology subjects as computer language, code writing, Web page creation, the Internet, and search engines. Steve Jobs of Apple and Macintosh fame grew up in what is now the Silicon Valley. He used his interest in electricity and computers to develop, along with his friend Steve Wozniak, a "computer that was small and useful and simple enough that everybody in the world would want to have one." Marc Andreessen showed great ability in computer programming. His work led to the development of Mosaic and later Netscape, both in pursuit of the idea of making the Internet "as easy to use as possible." Jeff Bezos, with his philosophy of "work hard, have fun, make history," developed Amazon.com, starting his online business in his garage. All three men march to different drummers, are risk takers and highly competitive, and work to make computers increasingly accessible. These books will be helpful to younger students interested in the fields of technology or business. They will be additionally useful to teens looking for short biographies, serving as high interest/low vocabulary titles. Index. Photos. Biblio. Source Notes. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P M J S (Better than most, marred only byoccasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Twenty-First Century, 80p. PLB $21.90. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Susan H. Levine SOURCE: VOYA, August 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 3)
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 5-8-These books profile two of the pioneers of the cyberspace era. Andreessen was instrumental in the creation of Mosaic, an early Web browser, and was cheated of recognition for his efforts. In revenge, he created the Netscape Navigator, which allowed the general public to use the Internet easily. However, his triumph sparked a huge legal and commercial battle with software-giant Bill Gates and Microsoft for control of the browser market. Bezos saw the commercial opportunities in an easily accessible Internet and created Amazon.com, one of the first, now most widely recognized dot.com businesses. Although his story makes for good reading, Andreessen's story of revenge and cutthroat competition is the more compelling of the two. Both authors are admiring of their subjects, emphasizing how they were able to see the possibilities of cyberspace and create something entirely new. Although these stories are interesting and readable, the books themselves are not very attractive. Each has only a few black-and-white photos that add little to the text and the cover art is not flattering to either man. In spite of superficial weaknesses, these titles are sure to appeal to both report writers and the young techies who exist in every school, showing them that those who view the world differently can make significant contributions.-Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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