When Jackie Saved Grand Central: The True Story of Jacqueline Kennedy's Fight for an American Icon

illus. by Alexandra Boiger. 48p. bibliog. HMH. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780547449210.
Gr 1–5—Beginning with a few pages of background about Jackie Kennedy and the work she put into restoring the White House, this book then delves into the history and cultural significance of New York City's Grand Central Station. For the most part, the author uses the diminutive "Jackie," depicting the former first lady as a determined but approachable figure who made preserving Grand Central a personal mission, participating in press conferences, fund-raising, lobbying, and demonstrations. Wing does an admirable job of describing a complex situation, making it understandable for a young audience and conveying the amount of time and effort required of Kennedy and many others to achieve the ultimate victory. The illustrations—rendered in watercolor, gouache, and ink, with spot colors and hand lettering added digitally—employ a variety of perspectives that give the book a cinematic quality. Whether using extreme close-ups, large-scale landscapes, or multi-illustration pages suggesting the passage of time, the visuals are energetic and multidimensional. In an artistic choice that may be puzzling to readers, Kennedy and other female characters often have sticklike legs that end in points rather than feet, while male figures are presented proportionally. Even the cover image portrays Kennedy more as a paper doll than human, which is strange in a book about a powerful woman who used her influence for the greater good.
VERDICT While the text makes this title a great addition to nonfiction shelves, some of the illustrations may distract from the message.

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