Title: Famous PeopleFamous People
Author: Kenneth & Valerie McLeish
Illustrator: Damon Burnard & Andrew Snell
Pages: 96
Recommended Ages: 10 & up
Star Rating: ★★★★

While out garage saling, I came upon a little stash of books. They were King Arthur, A Visit to William Blake’s Inn, Harriet Tubman, and I, Columbus. I was a little bit nervous – garage sale prices are notoriously unpredictable. Sometimes the books will be ten for a dollar, other times $ 2 for hardcover and $ 1 for softcover, regardless of the size.

I was guessing these were going to be on the more expensive side, so I left Famous People in the box. Then I asked how much they were going to be. When the response ‘a quarter each’ came back, I dove for the box.

Famous People is basically ‘Who’s Who’ for children. It has six categories – The Arts, Leaders, People of Action, Scientists, Sport and Entertainment, and Thinkers and Inventors – and over two hundred historical figures to fill these categories.

My favorite category was undoubtedly ‘The Arts’ – as a bookster and a musician, most of the individuals whose work I’ve studied fell into this category. Bach, Beethoven, Alcott, Chopin, Chaucer, Doyle, Dickens, Mozart, Potter, Sendak, Shakespeare, Stevenson, Twain, Verne, and Brahms all blended together quite nicely.

Each individual was given two to five paragraphs and their most important contribution to the world discussed. I had already heard of or knew about most of them (admittedly several of the ‘Sport and Entertainment’ entires were unknown to me), and the information presented about them seemed to be correct. Of course, there were a few people I would not have included or would have said different things about (Charles Darwin, Michael Jackson, Karl Marx, etc.), but most of the inclusions were good.

Conclusion. Children could use this book to widen their interest and read full length biographies from there.

Review © 2015 Laura Verret

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