School Library Journal - School Library Journalea. vol: bibliog. chron. index. (Why They Became Famous Series). CIP. Silver Burdett. 1987. PLB $13.96; pap. $6.75. Gr 4-6 Each of the concise, readable, and generously illustrated texts is followed by an appendix giving information about events that influenced the times in which the subject of the biography lived or events that the subject influenced. Fictionalized conversations are used to maintain interest. Ludwig van Beethoven and Napoleon Bonaparte both have static, textbook-like illustrations. Marri's book is better than Madeleine Goss' Beethoven: Master Musician (Doubleday, 1943; o.p.) as it is less fictionalized; also, its clear prose will probably reach more young readers than will Goss' slightly sentimental language. Manfred Weidhorn's Napoleon (Macmillan, 1986) is far more detailed than Shor's Napoleon Bonaparte, but is drier and is for an older age group. Shor's Florence Nightingale is the best of the three in terms of a gracefully flowing text. This book compares favorably to Cecil Woodham-Smith's Lonely Crusader (McGraw-Hill, 1951; o.p.), which covers the same ground but in greater detail. Illustrations in Shor's book are more impressionistic and dynamic than the others in this series. None of these books indulges in hagiography. The subjects are portrayed with all their human flaws. Interesting and well-written enough to read aloud, these books are recommended especially for school libraries. Ann Welton, Lake Dollof Elementary, Auburn, Wash.
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