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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

WHAT TO DO ABOUT ALICE? (Alice Roosevelt)

WHAT TO DO ABOUT ALICE? by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham (Scholastic)

"I can be president of the United States, or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both." -- Theodore Roosevelt

Plans were being made to send the irrepressible Miss Alice Roosevelt to Miss Spence's boarding school to become a proper young lady. "Alice was appalled. The idea completely shriveled her." But with a little consistent effort, Alice manages to get herself homeschooled. Let loose in the library, the dear little autodidact "taught herself astronoy, geology, even Greek grammar. She read Twain, Dickens, Darwin, and the Bible, cover to cover." But what better home to school in than the White House? As her father's career rose to the highest power, Alice (and her pet snake Emily Spinach) make the move to D.C. Her high spirits and propensity not to listen to her father made headlines, and a difference in what women started to think they could do...and what fun they could have doing it. The goodwill ambassador and serious party girl gets celebrated here in a way that will have little girls snorting at the poor little Paris Hilton. Some of the most charming pictures seen since McKinley's time happen here, and fans of Shana Corey and Chesley McLaren's YOU FORGOT YOUR SKIRT, AMELIA BLOOMER will appreciate the retro feel of the characters laid out with crisp, dynamic line and composition. Favorites pics include Alice having a tantrum with her head beneath a pillow, or zipping from shelf-to-shelf beneath a stuffy stuffed moose-head in the library; honestly, it makes me want to write something just so Edwin Fotheringham can draw it. What to do about Alice? Read about her days spent making the point: well-behaved women rarely make history. (6 and up)

1 comment:

Gsmith said...

I'm a librarian, and my fourth grade girls loved this book. They liked knowing that not all girls in Alice's time were prim and proper. They also enjoyed knowing that even though she was a precocious child, she really made her Dad proud when she grew up.