School Library JournalGr 3-5-Entertaining and engaging, these "stories" serve as good accompaniments to more standard biographies of Alcott and Mozart. Aller's account begins with an incident from Alcott's childhood that emphasizes the importance of giving rather than receiving, a lesson that the writer would revisit throughout her lifetime as the sole breadwinner for her family. The book culminates with the critical and financial success of Little Women and serves as a precursor to works such as Gloria Whelan's Fruitlands (HarperCollins, 2002). There is some fictionalizing of thoughts and feelings, but it is meshed with factual information. Quotes in the text are not specifically identified, but a note at the end of the bibliography states that they were all taken from one of the sources listed. Sentimental black-and-white illustrations appear throughout, reflecting the tone of Alcott's works. Allman's volume is similarly written, beginning with Mozart's start as a child prodigy and continuing through his work as the foremost composer of his time. The line drawings use a lot of shadowing, creating a rough look that reflects Mozart's often-turbulent existence. Despite the hardships both of these artists faced throughout their lives, the narratives retain a certain sweetness, a storybook quality that will draw young readers into the biography genre. Their readability may inspire children to learn more about each figure.-Tracy Karbel, Glenside Public Library District, Glendale Heights, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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