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Just Being Audrey
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Just Being Audrey

3.8 8
by Margaret Cardillo

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From Roman Holiday to Breakfast at Tiffany's, when Audrey Hepburn starred in a movie, she lit up the screen. Her unique sense of fashion, her grace, and, most important, her spirit made her beloved by generations. But her life offscreen was even more luminous. As a little girl growing up in Nazi-occupied Europe, she learned early on that true kindness


From Roman Holiday to Breakfast at Tiffany's, when Audrey Hepburn starred in a movie, she lit up the screen. Her unique sense of fashion, her grace, and, most important, her spirit made her beloved by generations. But her life offscreen was even more luminous. As a little girl growing up in Nazi-occupied Europe, she learned early on that true kindness is the greatest measure of a person—and it was a lesson she embodied as she became one of the first actresses to use her celebrity to shine a light on the impoverished children of the world through her work with UNICEF.

This is Audrey Hepburn as a little girl, an actress, an icon, an inspiration; this is Audrey just being Audrey.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Audrey Hepburn proves as irresistible a character in the pages of a children's book as she is in those soigné roles of the silver screen. Denos (Grandma's Gloves) is spot-on in her watercolor portraits of Hepburn at each stage of her life; even those readers who haven't seen Sabrina, Roman Holiday, or Charade (at least not yet) will understand instantly how Hepburn's ballerina bearing, gamine chic, and openhearted worldliness made her a one-of-a-kind star and fashion icon. Debut author Cardillo's literal, matter-of fact storytelling could have used a little more élan (especially given that her subject once spoke the urbane words of Peter Stone, Billy Wilder, and George Axelrod), but she gets her point across: "Audrey had become more than an actress; she was an inspiration. While most Hollywood starlets were curvy and wore glamorous outfits, Audrey would only be herself." And the story is packed with fascinating details about Hepburn's upbringing in WWII Europe and foray into acting. Any grownup who bemoans the way Katy Perry et al. dominate contemporary popular culture should buy this for their favorite girl—ASAP. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)
“Denos’ soft pastel illustrations cut just the right Audrey outline (complete with flapping neck scarf), and fans will especially enjoy picking out the movie roles depicted in a two-page spread of costumes.”
Children's Literature - Leona Illig
When Audrey Hepburn was a little girl, she wanted to be a prima ballerina more than anything. But she was too tall, and so she decided to become an actress instead. This book describes the events that led to Ms. Hepburn's career as a beloved Hollywood movie star, and to her nomination as Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. The illustrations in the biography capture both the spirit and the beauty of Ms. Hepburn. For young girls who have seen "My Fair Lady," the pictures are themselves worth the price of the book. The text, however, is unfortunately flat and does not echo the drama, excitement, or inspiration of Ms. Hepburn's life. Her family's experiences in World War II, their poverty, her big Hollywood break, and her desire to help the children of the world are all powerful stories, but this biography presents everything in a straightforward, journalistic format that doesn't do justice to the material. Nevertheless, little girls who admire the actress who landed the role of "Eliza Doolittle" (without being able to sing the main part, no less) will undoubtedly enjoy the illustrations and, perhaps, be encouraged to find out more about this remarkable actress and UNICEF spokeswoman. Reviewer: Leona Illig
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—In this delightful introduction to Audrey Hepburn, readers learn that as a child, she was gangly and imaginative, in a world of her own. When she announced that she wanted to be the prima ballerina of all of Europe, her mother told her that the world was bigger than she was, and to always be kind, a tenet that seems to have stuck with her for life. She was born into a family of some privilege (her mother was a baroness), but their small wealth was no match for the advancing Nazi troops in World War II. Along with her family and 40 others, she hid in a country house with no heat and little to eat. Through the ordeal, she kept dancing and taught the other children. As the war in Europe ended, a UN volunteer gave her a chocolate bar, an act of kindness that seemed to inspire her. After the young woman realized that she would be more suited to acting, her Cinderella career took her from London to Broadway to Hollywood, but the power in this book lies beyond her fame in the spotlight. Her generous humanitarian spirit is seen through her actions and deeds as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF as she used her celebrity as a vehicle to assist others. With a light, sweet narrative style, readers can almost picture Hepburn dancing as they turn the pages. Evocative of the period, Denos's almost impressionistic pen-and-ink and watercolor artwork is lively and colorful. This picture-book biography is a great addition to any collection.—Alison Donnelly, Collinsville Memorial Public Library, IL

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.50(d)
740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Margaret Cardillo earned her MFA in creative writing as a James A. Michener Fellow at the University of Miami. A former children's book editor in New York City, she now lives in South Florida.

The hardest question for Julia Denos to answer is "What is your favorite color?" She has illustrated several children's books, including Just Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo, I Had a Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn, Dotty by Erica S. Perl, Grandma's Gloves by Cecil Castellucci, and Letters to Leo by Amy Hest. This is the first book she has written and illustrated. Julia lives in Boston.

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Just Being Audrey 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An adorable biography of an American icon. A must read for all young girls and their Moms and Grandmothers! This is what you want your daughter to grow up to be like! A great role model. Beautifully written and gorgeously illustrated!
JuJuBaker More than 1 year ago
Just Being Audrey proves to be one of those relatively rare cases where the author and illustrator are completely in synch regarding the theme and tone of the book. Author Margaret Cardillo writes like she has always known Audrey Hepburn by heart, and after extensive research by her and illustrator Julia Denos, the two artists bring her best qualities to life for a new generation of readers. To be kind above all, a message Hepburn's mother, a baroness, instilled in Audrey, is timely in our age of a disturbing increase in bullying as a result of ignorance of differences and issues of diversity. It is a welcome theme throughout the book and one that children respond very well to. Audrey always felt different, but with her mother's significant encouragement we learn how she turns her unique qualities into strength of character. It is her strength of spirit that forges an unforgettable film career as well as a life that is dedicated to her own cherished children and, later in life, to children around the globe through UNICEF. Just Being Audrey is a beautifully written and illustrated children's book and a special gift to older generations who have grown up loving Audrey Hepburn.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Runningmommy More than 1 year ago
The illustrations are beautiful! They really capture the spirit of Audrey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i just thought it would be better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an incredible book, all should read it!