I love Kathleen Krull's books. I love Kathleen Krull's writing. I love Kathleen Krull's passion for her craft. And, I love The Boy on Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew Up to Become Dr. Suess. When I pick up a book by Kathleen Krull, I know it's going to be insightful, well-written, and engaging. She never disappoints me. I was in our local bookstore with my daughter this week and had to add this book to my basket.
Like all her biographies do, The Boy on Fairfield Street, draws us into the life of her subject... in this case it's Theodore Geisel. From childhood to adulthood we discover things we might not have known about Dr. Suess. We learn tidbits about the young doodler who grew up to be one of our most celebrated children's authors. When I read the details about some of his books in the "On Beyond Fairfield Street" section in the back of the book, I suddenly gained a new respect for Hop on Pop.
The brilliance of Ms. Krull's writing is that she invites us to relish the personal side of each of her subjects. She helps us understand why Dr. Suess became Dr. Suess and details his life as a youngster growing up as a German American in Springfield, Massachusetts during World War I. She helps us know how he overcame the injustices of his childhood. She details his life in school and creates a portrait of what life was like for the "doodler" who didn't fit into the status quo... yet who had a unique view of the world in which he lived (which is revealed to us in his writing in the most interesting and subtle ways). This book is a perfect cousin text to Odd Boy Out by Don Brown.
It's a grand book. Kathleen Krull is a grand writer. With her wit, wisdom, and knack for capturing detail, she draws into the lives of her subjects. I can't wait to share this one with my students!