From the Publisher
Starred Review, Booklist, December 15, 2007
\u0022Irrepressible Alice Roosevelt gets a treatment every bit as attractive and exuberant as she was....The large format gives Fotheringham, in his debut, plenty of room for spectacular art.\u0022
Starred Review, Kirkus, February 1, 2008
\u0022Theodore Roosevelt\u2019s irrepressible oldest child receives an appropriately vivacious appreciation in this superb picture book.... Kerley\u2019s precise text presents readers with a devilishly smart, strong-willed girl who was determined to live life on her own terms—and largely succeeded.\u0022
Starred Review, School Library Journal, March 2008
\u0022Kerley\u2019s text gallops along with a vitality to match her subject\u2019s antics, as the girl greets White House visitors accompanied by her pet snake, refuses to let leg braces cramp her style, dives fully clothed into a ship\u2019s swimming pool, and also earns her place in history as one of her father\u2019s trusted advisers. Fotheringham\u2019s digitally rendered, retro-style illustrations are a superb match for the text.\u0022
Children's Literature - JoAn Watson Martin
The subtitle says it all: "How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy!" Alice had a motherless childhood, having lost her mother two days after she was born. She grew up checking how high the springs sprang on her grandparents' sofa, demanding piggyback rides on her father's shoulders, and pretending to be a fiery horse in the park. She refused to attend Miss Spence's prim boarding school, convincing her father she would be better educated left on her own in her father's extensive library. Even having to wear braces on her legs didn't tame Alice. When Alice was seventeen and her father became the president of the United States, he famously said to a friend, "I can be president of the United States, or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both." Women's groups called her "outrageous," but everyone loved her. Babies were named after her, songs were written about her, and the press called her "Princess Alice." Her wedding to Congressman Nicholas Longworth was the social event of the season. Alice was certainly ahead of her times, but her notoriety helped her father's popularity. For fifty years she was a political power behind the scenes. Her best-known quip was: "If you don't have something good to say about someone, come sit by me." Social Studies teachers of primary classes will find Alice an interesting subject that kids will admire as they learn about a family that lived in the White House in 1901. Barbara Kerley has written other award-winning picture book biographies. Edwin Fotheringham's illustrations are seen in many publications, but What To Do About Alice is his first picture book. Reviewer: JoAn Watson Martin
…Kerley reveals the essence of Alice in an upbeat account of her life, dramatizing Alice's love of "eating up the world," as she put it. Kerley's text plays straight man to the punch line of Edwin Fotheringham's mischievous artwork…"I give a good show," Alice proclaimed. That she did, as Kerley and Fotheringham demonstrate with verve.
The New York Times
It's hard to imagine a picture book biography that could better suit its subject than this high-energy volume serves young Alice Roosevelt. Kerley (The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins) knows just how to introduce her to contemporary readers: "Theodore Roosevelt had a small problem. It wasn't herding thousands of cattle across the Dakota badlands. He'd done that. It wasn't leading the Rough Riders.... He'd bagged a grizzly bear, captured outlaws, governed the state of New York, and served as vice president of the United States, and still he had a problem. Her name was Alice." Debut illustrator Fotheringham creates the perfect mood from the start: his stylish digital art sets a fast pace, making use of speed lines (rendered in dots, these earn their names) and multiple vignettes to evoke characters in perpetual motion. His compositions wittily incorporate headlines, iconic images and plenty of Alice blue, too. Kids will embrace a heroine who teaches her younger stepsiblings to sled down the White House stairs ("Alice tried to be helpful," Kerley writes soberly as Fotheringham shows her in action), entertains dignitaries with her pet snake and captivates a nation with pranks and high jinks. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4- Kerley brings another historical figure to life. Alice Lee Roosevelt was President Theodore Roosevelt's only child by his first wife, who died two days after her birth. From the start, Alice's behavior was unconventional, and that pattern was to continue throughout her colorful life. Kerley's text gallops along with a vitality to match her subject's antics, as the girl greets White House visitors accompanied by her pet snake, refuses to let leg braces cramp her style, dives fully clothed into a ship's swimming pool, and also earns her place in history as one of her father's trusted advisers. Fotheringham's digitally rendered, retro-style illustrations are a superb match for the text. The energy in his pictures is palpable as when Alice is turned loose in her father's library and five Alices dart about followed by lines that trace her frenetic path as she reads eclectically and voraciously. The illustrations not only enhance but are frequently the source of humor: "Alice tried to be helpful. She watched her younger brothers and sister so her stepmother could get some rest." The picture depicts Alice and her siblings careening down the White House stairs on sleds. Alice blue, the color named after her eyes, swirls throughout in a subtle tribute. This book provides a fascinating glimpse into both a bygone era and one of its more interesting denizens as well as a surefire antidote for any child who thinks that historical figures are boring.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Theodore Roosevelt's irrepressible oldest child receives an appropriately vivacious appreciation in this superb picture book. "From the time she was a little girl, Alice ate up the world." Taking her thematic approach from Alice's own self-description, Kerley's precise text presents readers with a devilishly smart, strong-willed girl who was determined to live life on her own terms-and largely succeeded. Sprinkling her account with well-chosen quotations, she outlines Alice Roosevelt Longworth's childhood and its increasingly outrageous hijinks, as well as the loving (if sometimes exasperating) relationship she enjoyed with her renowned father. Fotheringham's digital illustrations perfectly evoke the retro styles of an earlier age, depicting a confident Alice sailing through life and tackling every challenge with delight and aplomb. The illustrator takes every opportunity to develop Alice's character further; one memorable spread shows a blandly smiling Alice leading her smaller siblings in riding trays down the White House stairs while the text merely remarks, "She watched her younger brothers and sister so her stepmother could get some rest." It's a gleeful celebration of a fully, unapologetically led life. (author's note) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)