Hello, friends! Our books today are three more from the Pocket Bios series by Al Berenger: Anne Frank, Frida Kahlo, and Marie Curie.
As with previous installments in the series, each book walks the reader through a concise look at its subject’s life, including notable events, works, and accomplishments. Each page focuses on a different event or time period, accompanied by an illustration on the opposite page, and all three books include backmatter with maps, timelines, and more.
As with the three that we reviewed for Black History Month, these biographies are fairly well-done (if occasionally faulty) primers for these remarkable women. Curie’s is strongest, covering her quest for education despite her gender, her romance with Pierre Curie and their work together, her two Nobel prizes, and her premature death (though little effort is given to describing her actual work). Kahlo’s is also quite good for the same reasons, but suffers greatly from not showing her actual art, romanticizes her tumultuous relationship with Diego Rivera, and completely ignores her open bisexuality. And while it tries to capture her indomitable spirit, Anne Frank’s is a mess in terms of tone; illustrations of Hitler surrounded by saluting Nazis, or of Otto Frank weeping despondently over the deaths of his daughters, portrayed in the series’ bright, bobble-headed character style is cringingly inappropriate. As with previous books in this series, these aren’t bad as primers, but picture book biographies have been done far better for each woman. Otherwise, the lengths aren’t bad, even for small bookworms, and JJ enjoyed them okay. I would say skip Frank’s, but Kahlo and Curie are Baby Bookworm approved.
(Note: Copies of these books were provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)