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Children's LiteratureAuthor Blackwood has written an interesting and different book about perplexing people. The stories in this book reveal the lives of people who have taken on someone else's identity. One example retells the story of a woman who claimed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, a daughter of the Russian Tsar Nicholas II. The entire family was killed in 1918 by the Bolsheviks. In 1920, a woman named Anna Anderson was pulled from a canal in Germany and refused to tell anything about herself. She was sent to an insane asylum where another patient claimed she looked like Anastasia's sister Tatiana. Anna said she was not Tatiana, but that she was Anastasia. She had survived the 1918 execution and had been smuggled into Romania. Until she died, Anna claimed she was Anastasia. In the early 1990s, DNA examination did not find a match that Anna was related to the Romanovs. Another story in the book is that of the outlaw Billy the Kid. Brushy Bill Roberts claimed to be the legendary Billy the Kid even though "the kid" died in 1881. Yet, Roberts knew so much about the kid's life that one man named William V. Morrison believed that hemight be genuine. In 1990, scientists compared pictures of Roberts with the only likeness of Billy the Kid they had, an old photograph. The facial structure was similar, but there still was not enough proof that Brushy Bill Roberts was Billy the Kid. So the mystery remains. There are five more stories of perplexing people in this slim volume. Included are color and black-and-white photographs, as well as back matter. Young readers will enjoy reading these mysterious tales of assumed identities. 2006, Benchmark Books/Marshall Cavendish, Ages 10 up.
—Della A. Yannuzzi