An enlightening peek behind the curtain for Nancy Drew fans.

READ REVIEW

MISSING MILLIE BENSON

THE SECRET CASE OF THE NANCY DREW GHOSTWRITER AND JOURNALIST

From the Biographies for Young Readers series

“There is no Carolyn Keene. There never was.” But as the author of 23 of the first 30 Nancy Drew mysteries, Mildred Wirt Benson came closer than anyone else.

Digging into archives and the memories of surviving acquaintances as well as published histories, Rubini spins an account of Benson’s long and active life that throws a strong light on the source of Nancy Drew’s own admirably intrepid and independent spirit. The author briefly mentions updated editions of the original Nancy Drews and other publication details, but she largely steers clear of retold plotlines and literary analyses to focus on biographical details. These include Benson’s early years in Iowa and first publication at 13 (in St. Nicholas Magazine), two marriages, and twin careers as a local journalist and, under a variety of names, a writer of over 130 children’s titles. Family snapshots, old cover images, and side notes on topics from Nancy Drew trivia to a brownie recipe offer occasional distractions. More significantly, a quick history of the Stratemeyer Syndicate sheds light on the ins and outs of series ghostwriting, highlighted by the dramatic 1980 courtroom denouement (“I thought that you were dead”) that led at last to public recognition of Benson’s achievements.

An enlightening peek behind the curtain for Nancy Drew fans. (timeline, publication list, glossary, endnotes, bibliography) (Biography. 11-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8214-2183-3

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Ohio Univ.

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2015

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ONCE UPON A MARIGOLD

From the Marigold Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Cold indeed is the heart not made warm by this bubbly fairy-tale romance. Raised by a kindly forest troll, Christian knows little of the world beyond what he can see through his telescope, but gazing upon a nearby castle, he falls head over heels for Princess Marigold. What chance has he, though, as a (supposed) commoner? When at last he nerves himself to send her a message via carrier pigeon, she answers and the courtship is on—via “p-mail” at first, then, after he lands a job as a castle servant, face to face. Setting numerous fairy-tale conventions just a bit askew, Ferris (Of Sound Mind, 2001, etc.) surrounds her two smart, immensely likable teenagers, who are obviously made for each other, with rival suitors, hyperactive dogs, surprising allies, and strong adversaries. The most notable among the last is devious, domineering Queen Olympia, intent on forcing Marigold into marriage with a penniless, but noble, cipher. The author gets her commonsensical couple to “I Do” through brisk palace intrigue, life-threatening situations, riotous feasting, and general chaos; Queen Olympia gets suitable comeuppance, and the festivities are capped by the required revelation that Christian is actually heir to the throne of neighboring Zandelphia. Fans of Gail Carson Levine’s Princess Tales will be in familiar territory here, as well as seventh heaven. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-15-216791-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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Misleadingly titled but broader in scope and less Eurocentric than standard surveys.

A JOURNEY THROUGH ART

A GLOBAL HISTORY

A world tour featuring select highlights of human culture, from 37,000-year-old rock paintings to modern murals and architecture.

Title notwithstanding, after a visit to the prehistoric petroglyphs at Nawarla Gabarnmung in northern Australia (and with a 19th-century stop at Haida Gwaii for a gander at Pacific Northwest Native woodcarving), Rosen focuses more on cities or large settlements and urban ways of life through the ages than on specific works or styles of art. His itinerary is determinedly “global,” though, covering every continent but Antarctica from 13th-century B.C.E. Thebes to art and architecture created for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Each stop along the way opens with an overview of the site and its distinctive character accompanied by a wide-angle picture painted by Dalzell and dotted with tiny clipped photos of statues or other figures. On the following spread further concise observations on customs and culture accompany three or four smaller (sometimes, alas, minuscule) photos of significant monuments, artifacts, or paintings with explanatory notes. Though the author hustles readers past the Rosetta Stone and Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man without benefit of visuals, a satiric Egyptian papyrus offers an eye-opening treat—and in more recent times he boosts the presence of women among his sparse tally of artists by, for instance, pairing works of Judith Leyster and Rembrandt, Mary Cassatt with Claude Monet.

Misleadingly titled but broader in scope and less Eurocentric than standard surveys. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65101-8

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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