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It's not often you find a good nonfiction writer also blessed with the gift of cartooning, but Venezia pulls off that double duty in the Getting to Know the World's Greatest Inventors & Scientists series. Taking on pioneers of all stripes, Venezia combines a chatty text (characters get "freaked out" or are "super-successful") with a prudent mixture of period photographs and rascally cartoons. Jane Goodall paints an appealing picture of the young woman who developed a keen interest in animals after she was evacuated to the British countryside in WWII. Shots of the always-photogenic Goodall lounging among wild chimps never fail to enchant, and her discovery of such chimp traits as tool use and warfare make a strong case for her significance. Though the back matter is thin, this is a fun package that will keep things fresh, even for reluctant readers. Grades 2-4. --Daniel Kraus --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
Gr 3-4-These large-font, chatty biographies are easy to read and will fulfill most basic report requirements. The illustrations range from period photographs with excellent captions to humorous cartoons. Venezia's tone is casual, almost to the point of being distracting. The adjective "super" (e.g., "super wealthy," "super successful," etc.) is overused. Also, in some titles, there are gaps of unexplained white space. There are few juvenile biographies about Williams, who performed one of the first successful open-chest cavity surgeries. His legacy of fighting segregation in the medical community deserves a wide audience. The title about Jobs and Wozniak is useful, as it is one of the few recent biographies about two people who revolutionized the world through their work with computers. Goodall and Wright Brothers are serviceable additions. With the exception of Williams, the books do an excellent job of relating how childhood passions led to life- and world-changing discoveries and inventions. Since Williams worked throughout his childhood, little time existed for development of childhood interests.-Lisa Crandall, formerly at Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.