In an almost photoessay format, John F. Kennedy, Jr. is introduced to young adults. The son of the 35th president of the United States led an almost "mythical" childhood in the shadow of "what could have been if his father had lived." Jacqueline Kennedy fiercely protected John and his sister, Caroline, after President Kennedy's assassination in 1963. Although wealthy and part of a prominent American family, John and Caroline were refreshingly caring and unpretentious. John's life was filled with one tragic loss after another, yet he retained his care and compassion for others. Perhaps America expected too much from this young man, but because of his untimely death in 1999, that will never be known. Landau presents the story of his life as almost too perfect, yet she allows the reader to see the mischievous and the good of John, Jr. Her writing style and the poignant photographs, many of which are familiar, add to the almost "too good to be true" picture of John, Jr. and continue the mythical Camelot image that Jackie Kennedy wanted remembered about the family. This is not to say that the book is not engaging and well-written; it is and will be a good addition to a collection that has room for biographies that may not have a long shelf life. 2000, Twenty-First Century Books, $26.90. Ages 10 to 15. Reviewer: J. B. Petty
Gr 5 Up-The opening chapter of this poignant tribute to "America's prince" recounts his last day of life and his tragic death in a plane crash at sea. The ensuing chapters offer a comprehensive and touching look back at the 38 years during which JFK Jr. captured the public's interest and grew into the dashing young man who so resembled his father and seemed destined for public office himself. There are no new revelations here, just a comprehensive, accessible retelling of an extraordinary life, steeped in the wonder of what might have been had he lived. Appealing black-and-white photographs capture both posed and candid moments in young Kennedy's life, revealing not just his winsome good looks and high media profile but also his devotion to his mother and sister and his keen awareness of his family's place in history. A particularly moving photograph shows JFK Jr. and his wife Carolyn standing before the official White House portrait of his father as President Clinton leads the two on a tour of John's former home. The book is an appealing choice for readers interested not only in the children of American presidents but in any young person who must strive to overcome a celebrity legacy to make a name and career for himself.-William McLoughlin, Brookside School, Worthington, OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.