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Pat Lauber has lived in southwestern Connecticut almost all her life; her family moved there just a few years after her birth in 1924. Growing up, she loved to read and also to write her own stories. After graduating from Wellesley College, where she majored in English, she began working in publishing for Scholastic. It was at Scholastic that she was encouraged to write down stories about her dog Clarence, which eventually evolved into her first book Clarence the TV Dog. Since then she has written more than 100 books for children, mostly nonfiction and has continued freelance writing and editing for several publications. She currently resides in Connecticut.
Gr 3-8 What is there to say about the sixth (at least) biography of Amelia Earhart to be published in the last couple of years? Her story is an exciting one for young readers, offering a strong female role model. Among the attractively designed, well-written alternatives, one can choose from the briefer Amelia Earhart: Aviation Pioneer (Lerner, 1987) by Roxane Chadwick on up to Carol Pearce's more detailed Amelia Earhart (Facts on File, 1988). Lauber writes clearly and interestingly, conveying her own interest in the subject, but her biography doesn't do anything that the others don't, and her bibliography is shorter than those in comparable books. Earhart's early life is covered succinctly, including the family problems that resulted from her father's alcoholism. Close to half of the book is concerned with the details of the last flight around the world and the mysterious disappearance, sure to hold the attention of readers. Small but very clear black-and-white photographs are included. Sylvia S. Marantz, Wellington School, Columbus, Ohio
In this lucid and often suspenseful biography, Newbery Honor winner Lauber tries to show the factors that contributed to Earhart's destiny. The biography begins with a snapshot of Amelia as a boisterous girl, then travels back to describe and personalize all the players in Amelia's early life, particularly her parents and grandparents. While some readers might find this part of the book slow-going, they will also discover that as Amelia's life unfolds, all the facets that turned her into a courageousif impulsiveexplorer fall into place. Lauber creates a vivid picture of the woman who became, as Lindbergh had before her, an instant celebrity. But the author isn't satisfied simply with portraying the life of the heroine. She narrates clearly and precisely in page-turning prose the events of Earhart's last, fateful flight. That historians will never know the answer to that question only adds poignancy to a remarkable story. Lost Star deserves to be placed on the shelf alongside biographies by Jean Fritz and Scott O'Dell, for its effortless and memorable portrayal of a genuine American heroine. Ages 9-12. (September)