CM . . . .
Volume VI Number 8 . . . . December 10, 1999
There was the baby crying again! The wailing seemed to come from the Bell's apartment, but the neighbors knew the Bells had no baby. The source of the sound was a machine that young AGB and his brothers had invented. It made such a realistic crying sound that it fooled the neighbors. Even as a child AGB was fascinated by sounds and inventing.Described as a "photo-biography," Alexander Graham Bell: An Inventive Life, is a well researched "Eyewitness" format publication. Each colourful, appealing two-page layout covers one aspect of Bell's life: his early years in Scotland, his immigration to Canada, his teaching of the hearing impaired, his marriage, his relationship with Helen Keller, his numerous inventions, and his retreat and death in Nova Scotia. The author cleverly incorporates incidents with particular child-appeal, such as how he massaged his dog's vocal cords to make it talk. Much information is related in the captions that accompany archival photographs, documents and Graham Bell's drawings.
Small representations of Bell with oversized head provide personal observations. A time line of Bell's life, Web sites (all accessible in August 1999), and index are included. Although this publication has accessible information for the researcher and visual appeal for young browsers, it fails to capture Bell's passion for inventing. The narrative was so limited that AGB replaces Alexander Graham Bell throughout, and transitions between paragraphs are sometimes abrupt. Nevertheless this is a highly recommended children's biography. Appealing Canadian biographies written for children are too scarce!
Joan Simpson is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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