Sunday, January 22, 2006
Poole, Josephine. 2005. ANNE FRANK. Ill. by Angela Barrett. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0375832424 [Suggested Grade Levels K-8]
Poole’s poignant picture book biography shares the life and times of Anne Frank. It places her experiences within the larger context of Hitler's rise to power and the vicious persecution of the Jews, both in Germany and later in Holland, where the Frank family was driven into hiding.
Poole’s offering provides young readers an opportunity to connect with Anne in a way not often accomplished by books for young children—with skillful and rich language, a chronology of Anne’s life is given, allowing readers an opportunity to better understand her life and times. While the text is substantial, the narrative nature of Poole’s telling keeps the book from being too heavy handed. Paired with Barrett’s dreamy art, the balance feels just right. Though she uses a muted palette, Barrett’s full page illustrations perfectly capture each scene and offer a sense of immediacy, drawing readers into the action. Realistically rendered, the art heightens this emotional connection and presents Anne’s perspective of the events unfolding. While all the illustrations evoke emotion, especially tender are scenes offering Anne with her family as well as the powerful final image of Anne staring off the page at readers, surrounded by Nazi soldiers after hearing, "smash, crash, boots on the stairs.” While source notes are not included, Poole provides a detailed timeline and offers a brief history of Anne’s diary rather than the fate of the young girl herself.
Older readers preparing to read THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL could read Poole’s biography as a way to build prior knowledge. They could begin a character map using what they learned from Poole’s book and add additional character traits as they read Anne’s diary.
Other works about Anne Frank:
Hurwitz, Johanna. ANNE FRANK: LIFE IN HIDING. ISBN 0380732548
Pressler, Mirjam. ANNE FRANK: A HIDDEN LIFE. ISBN 0141312262
Rol, Ruud van der. ANNE FRANK, BEYOND THE DIARY: A PHOTOGRAPHIC REMEMBRANCE. ISBN 0140369260
By Rose Brock