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Provides biographical and bibliographical information about authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults, arranged in dictionary form.
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Nearly 300 well-known children's and young(er) adult authors are featured in this second edition. Aimed at the elementary- and middle-school audience, it provides easy-to-read commentary on the authors' personal and professional lives.
As the introduction indicates, the scope is not exhaustive. Most authors are from the U.S and the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The literature canon--and the popularity lineup--reflected here are well established: from Verna Aardema to Charlotte Zolotow, from Louisa May Alcott and Edward Lear to J. K. Rowling and Lemony Snicket, from the Berenstains to Judy Blume (a few omissions: Lewis Carroll, Francine Pascal, Richard Scarry). This edition has increased from six to eight volumes and has updated bibliographies in addition to almost 80 new author entries. Suggested print and online resources for further study are also now included.
Each volume lists the authors covered therein and notes the major children's literary awards given in the U.S. Entries are usually four pages in length, covering the author's personal life, career, and approach to creating. A selective bibliography and further-reading sources (usually a couple of books and a couple of Web sites) are included. Most entries include a black-and-white photo and representative book cover. Writing is predictably positive and geared to preteen interests (mentioning, for example, reading as a way to get out of chores, receiving encouragement from teachers, etc. ).
Each volume contains the same cumulative index. It lists authors alphabetically as well as ethnically; basic genres are also noted (e.g., fantasy, poetry, nonfiction). Unfortunately, single titles do not appear as index entries.
The slim volumes with their heavy stock and slick hardback covers make for easy, durable handling. Type is very spacious yet not childish looking. The books offers a clean and pleasant appearance.
This set is an enjoyable introduction to mainstay children's authors and illustrators. It invites the reader to browse more than research these individuals, so it probably should not be acquired as the main reference set for the subject area. However, as a supplemental work, it can provide hours of pleasurable reading. Lesley Farmer
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