These two charming picture books star familiar characters…
Just Being Audrey
by Margaret Cardillo
Balzer + Bray
ISBN: 978 0 061 85283 1
Audience: grades 1-5
This simply told biography of Audrey Hepburn is not about the glamour of her movie star roles, but about her whole life, the kind of person she was, and the ways in which she made differences just by being herself.
There is a strong focus here on Audrey’s acceptance and resilience, on her strong sense of self, and on her kindness and thoughtfulness. In this way, she is held up as a wonderful role model, not for her looks and fame, but for how she lived her life.
While the story and the message are lovely, it is the breezy illustrations that really make this book. There is a jaunty elegance about them that is just perfect for Audrey, who looks like she is about to step off the page and toss a comment over her shoulder, there is so much implied movement. It’s a wonderful way to acquaint a child with this iconic lady.
by Jeanette Winter
Schwartz & Wade
ISBN: 978 0 375 86774 3
Audience: grades 2-6
Jane Goodall began studying animals and getting them comfortable with her from her earliest days, and even as a child, decided that she wanted to go to Africa to live with animals and learn all about them in a way that no one else had known them before – up close and personal. Ad Jane watched them, the chimps she was observing watched her back, and gradually accepted her presence, showing her how they lived and related to each other. Jane learned things no one else had known, and when her chimps became threatened, she left the forest to speak about saving the animals who had become like her own family.
Jane Goodall’s story is known the world over, of course, but the differences she made in how animals were studied and the impact of the new knowledge that she accumulated can be difficult to really get across. Jeanette Winter does an admirable job here, keeping things clear and to the point, but lingering on Jane’s patience and life-long dedication to the chimps of Gombe forest.
The illustrations that bring Jane and her chimps to life are lovely, too. The artwork is not showy, but simply rendered in beautiful, bold colours and patterns that bring just the perfect degree of stillness and mystery to the subject of a most inspiring person and place. This may well be just the thing to inspire another budding young watcher!