Books by Andrew Langley

BIOGRAPHY
Released: Oct. 1, 1998

The prolific author of beloved fairy tales stars in this short illustrated entry in the What's Their Story? series (see Grant, above) of biographies. Langley characterizes Andersen's childhood as a poor one, yet growing up in one room in Denmark still gave him room for imagining. Also chronicled is Andersen's schooling, his early persecution by classmates, travels, and an adulthood fraught with illness, loneliness, and heartbreak. This is not a full examination of his works or their sources of inspiration_only a few of his stories are mentioned briefly, but no bibliography is included_rather, this is an overview of his life and a citing of a few key events, e.g., meeting his idol, Charles Dickens. (chronology, index) (Picture book/biography. 6-9) Read full book review >
MEDIEVAL LIFE by Andrew Langley
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 1996

This sweeping visual presentation of medieval life in Europe demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses of historical titles in the Eyewitness series. A thousand years of European history are spanned in relatively few pages of briefly captioned, brightly colored photographs and reproductions. Any of these pages will make readers want to know more. (It will also make them wonder, ``How do we know that?'' without giving them a bibliography or other sources of further information.) Readers won't always know exactly what they're looking at: In a typical spread, entitled ``Holy Orders,'' there are photographs of objects from the 7th through the 13th centuries. The countries of origin are not always given; while some pieces are from the period, others look like modern reproductions. Many photos are just too small, e.g., the elaborate tapestry of the Hanseatic League is reduced almost to the size of a postage stamp. There are no maps, and the text is so abbreviated as to sound superficial: ``Peasants spent most of the daylight hours outside, so the drafts and little light from their unglazed windows did not trouble them.'' A book that's mostly for browsers. (index) (Nonfiction. 10-14) Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Dec. 1, 1994

Neil Armstrong (b. 1930) decided he would fly well before there was any notion that men would one day be sent into space. He got his pilot's license at 16; he was a naval air pilot during the Korean War; and he began test-piloting planes for NASA in 1955. Armstrong went into space in 1966 and behaved skillfully and bravely when there were complications, so when NASA needed to man the first human flight to the moon, it chose Armstrong to be commander. In 1969, Apollo 11 took off. When Armstrong stepped out of the lunar module, the Eagle, he uttered his famous statement: ``That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.'' The mission was a success. Langley (Passport to Great Britian, not reviewed, etc.) offers a dry but competent account. The ``Did you know?'' inserts are succinct and informative, but Pang's illustrations are barely serviceable. Why didn't the author just use photos? (Glossary; index) (Biography/Picture book. 9+) Read full book review >