Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Franklin and Eleanor

Franklin and Eleanor

Cheryl Harness
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 8 to 12
Penguin, 2004   ISBN: 978-0525472599

Both Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt had to overcome great loss in their lives. In Eleanor’s case she lost her beloved father when she was still a child and had to bear a very lonely and isolated existence for many years. Eleanor was neither pretty nor popular and it took her much time and great effort to find the inner strength and resources which gave her the ability to find her place in the world.

Franklin on the other hand had a very easy time of it when he was young. Everything was handed to him on a golden platter. He had loving and supportive parents who gave him everything he wanted, and he never seemed to lack from self confidence or assurance. His was a life of comfort and ease. It was when he was in his late thirties that he faced his greatest loss and his biggest challenge.

By this time Franklin and Eleanor were married and had children and it was during a family vacation that Franklin got terribly ill with polio. The dreadful disease left Franklin practically crippled from the waist down and he was faced with the decision as to what he was going to do next. His overbearing mother Sara wanted him to adopt the life of a invalid, a quiet life in the country away from the world. Franklin decided that he wasn’t willing to give up all his dreams of a life in politics just because he had the misfortune of getting polio. He asked for and received Eleanor’s help and together they took on the monumental task of setting Franklin on the road to the White House.

This moving and wonderfully researched book serves as a superb biography for two exceptional people who changed American and world history. We get to know not only about their public achievements but also about their private losses and successes.