By her own description, quoted here, Harriet Beecher Stowe was ""a little bit of a woman. . . about as thin and dry as a pinch of snuff""--and it's the only acute observation as well as the best writing in the book. For the rest Harriet, hearing freedom ring in patriotic texts, wonders ""what could a young girl do""; then, witnessing the suffering of fugitive slaves, vows ""God helping me, I will write something!"" While some of the syntax is askew (""one of her compositions was read aloud. . . . Though (it) did not bear her name, Hattie noticed that her father listened with interest""), the account of her life and works is accurate enough and, aside from the Childhood of Famous Americans entry, this is the youngest yet. The question is whether Mrs. Stowe attenuated is essential for eight-year-olds.