Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Lewis Carroll biography 2.14.18

Artwork by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017
Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

Perhaps it's my fondness of "Alice in Wonderland" that makes me enjoy this book so much.  But in the hands of writer Kathleen Krull and illustrator Júlia Sardà, it's this biography of Lewis Carroll that has me enchanted.

One Fun Day with Lewis Carroll by Kathleen Krull
One Fun Day With Lewis Carroll:
A Celebration of Wordplay and a Girl Named Alice
written by Kathleen Krull
illustrated by Júlia Sardà
published by HMH

Whenever I read a biography that is meant for young readers, I think about what part of it is going to appeal to them.  It seems like so many biographies written today are written about historical figures that we know as adults, but don't have much meaning for kids today.  So how do we entice them to read it?  With Lewis Carroll, all you have to do is mention "Alice in Wonderland" and young readers will have a better idea about who they are going to read about.  Thanks to Johnny Depp's appearance in the newer live-action movies, our young readers are more than ever familiar with Alice and her journey to Wonderland.

When I think about Alice's adventures, I remember the fun with words that occurred.  She uses such interesting words and phrases when she arrives in Wonderland or through the looking glass.

In One Fun Day With Lewis Carroll, Krull deftly weaves these words into the narrative of Lewis Carroll, giving us an idea of who he was like as a person.  Readers will get a glimpse of the origin of these wonderful tales, who inspired them, and how some of the words were woven into the story.

By the second layout I knew I had seen Sardà's work recently in a newly favorited book.  I looked it up and my eye was correct - she is the illustrator of Natalie Lloyd's The Problim Children.  Her whimsical and colorful work go along perfectly with Krull's narrative.

A few additional parts stood out to me in this book - the endpages and backmatter.  On the endpages, there is a rolling list of words and phrases that most likely originated from Carroll - jabberwocky, un-birthday, much of a muchness.  In the backmatter, Krull gives further definition to the words and prints them in a specific color that tells us which Carroll book or poem they debut in.

I thoroughly enjoyed this picture book biography and think young readers will enjoy spending time with it as well.  What a fun addition to a library!


  1. It is a marvelous book, I agree. I imagine doing so many things in writing with students after reading and discussing this with them. Thanks, Michele!

  2. I love that illustrators are getting as recognized for their works. I admit for the longest time I've only paid attention to the writers.

  3. "a celebration of wordplay"--love that subtitle! I wonder if it would pair well with Will's Words, about the words that Shakespeare invented.

  4. Thanks for this review. I love picture book biographies. I haven't read this one, so I am excited to put it on my list.