In the end, alas, not all that much more than marmalade.



The first stand-alone profile for young readers of the man behind the bear.

Bond is a regular entry in collective biographies of authors, but from the evidence, he was such a private man and led such a quiet, uneventful life that Tolin resorts to invented scenes and conversations (closely based, she claims, on published sources) to fill out this slim volume. She retraces his childhood, World War II experiences, early career as a cameraman for the BBC, and eventual fame (after multiple rejections, etc.) as a children’s author. Sounding a timely note, she also weaves in as a recurrent theme experiences with and lifelong sympathies for immigrants—from Jewish Kindertransport refugees and children evacuated from London during the Blitz to later contacts with Afro-Caribbean and West Indian arrivals in London—that informed his most famous creation’s character and overseas origins. On the other hand, aside from brief mention of Olga da Polga she skips an opportunity to explore his true range by saying little to nothing about his bawdy, comical Monsieur Pamplemousse mystery series or any of the rest of his works. Readers will come away with a warming if not nuanced impression of a low-key man whose best-known creation reflects his own fundamental decency.

In the end, alas, not all that much more than marmalade. (map, photos, source list, index) (Biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64160-314-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Long before Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot by watching,” Fabre proved it so.



The rewards of simply taking time to bend down for a closer look are celebrated in this tribute to the great French entomologist.

Seeing as a lad that “every patch of dirt and tangle of weeds buzzed with insects: dazzling beetles, ferocious wasps, sweet-singing crickets, and more,” young Fabre went on to devote a long life to watching common insects rather than just collecting dead specimens as most of his contemporary colleagues did. The distinctive, enduring affection with which he regarded his diminutive subjects regardless of their often savage behavior comes through clearly here, both in Smith’s warm narrative and Ferri’s equally engaging views of the naturalist. He delightedly discovers a shimmering hoplia beetle beneath a leaf, smiles from his sickbed as a handful of hibernating bees revives after his son carries them indoors, and is wonderstruck by an account of how Cerceris wasps paralyze beetles as live food for offspring. (The illustrator has a little fun with viewers by adding a looming insectile shadow as well as close-up views of hovering wasps in this last scene.) Fabre’s many original discoveries and insights won him renown, and though he is largely unknown to nonspecialists today, his nose-to-nose approach to the natural world is well worth commemorating to modern readers.

Long before Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot by watching,” Fabre proved it so. (historical note, timeline, author’s note, annotated source list) (Picture book/biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4778-2632-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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Readers who have just discovered Anne Shirley of Green Gables and are wondering where she came from will find at least the beginnings of an answer in this fresh, frank picture-book biography. Montgomery comes across as a generous spirit, with both an independent streak and a strong sense of duty. MacLeod sketches both her public and private lives, pointing out real people, places, or incidents that appeared later in her books. She quotes income figures ($12,000 in 1914: as much as the Canadian Prime Minister) and describes, among other details, her youthful infatuation for one man, her secret engagement to another, and, years later, her long struggle to keep her husband's mental illness a secret. On every spread, montages of contemporary photos, portraits, book covers, quotes, memorabilia, manuscript pages, reviews, and film stills add a visual backdrop to this engaging glimpse of Canada's most famous author. A sketched figure of Maud points to important opinions or pieces of information. Montgomery's other books get a glance too, and there is a complete list at the end, along with lists of sites to visit, both in Canada and on the Web. A terrific format for an appealing subject. (index) (Biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-55074-487-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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