Reviews provided by Syndetics
School Library Journal Review
Gr 5-7-In a change of pace from his usual fantasies, Alexander has written a funny, clever novel that's part family story, part portrait of a developing artist and writer. David is happy that his bout with pneumonia will keep him out of school for several months, until his family decides he must be tutored by his elderly Aunt Annie. As the 11-year-old has already discerned, she cannot be bamboozled, and he may have to work instead of continuing with his favorite pastimes of drawing and making up heroic tales starring himself. Aunt Annie turns out to be an excellent teacher, though, and David's newfound knowledge of Napoleon, da Vinci, Sherlock Holmes, and Shakespeare provide ever more raw material for his active imagination. David's first-person narration of his daily life is interspersed with his creative epics, which eventually begin to feature Aunt Annie, nicknamed The Gawgon, along with himself, The Boy. Effective humor in both the real and the invented parts of the protagonist's life, well-drawn secondary characters, and clever segues from David's lessons with his aunt to his latest tales are among the story's many strengths. Descriptions of life in late 1920's Philadelphia give the sense of memoir, while the samples of David's early work leave no doubt he will someday become, like Alexander himself, an artist and storyteller.-Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Author notes provided by Syndetics
Lloyd Alexander, January 30, 1924 - May 17, 2007 Born Lloyd Chudley Alexander on January 30, 1924, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Allan Audley and Edna Chudley Alexander, Lloyd knew from a young age that he wanted to write. He was reading by the time he was 3, and though he did poorly in school, at the age of fifteen, he announced that he wanted to become a writer. At the age of 19 in 1942, Alexander dropped out of the West Chester State Teachers College in Pennsylvania after only one term. In 1943, he attended Lafayette College in Easton, PA, before dropping out again and joining the United States Army during World War II. Alexander served in the Intelligence Department, stationed in Wales, and then went on to Counter-Intelligence in Paris, where he was promoted to Staff Sergeant. When the war ended in '45, Alexander applied to the Sorbonne, but returned to the States in '46, now married. <p> Alexander worked as an unpublished writer for seven years, accepting positions such as cartoonist, advertising copywriter, layout artist, and associate editor for a small magazine. Directly after the war, he had translated works for such artists as Jean Paul Sartre. In 1955, "And Let the Credit Go" was published, Alexander's first book which led to 10 years of writing for an adult audience. He wrote his first children's book in 1963, entitled "Time Cat," which led to a long career of writing for children and young adults. <p> Alexander is best known for his "Prydain Chronicles" which consist of "The Book of Three" in 1964, "The Black Cauldron" in 1965 which was a Newbery Honor Book, as well as an animated motion picture by Disney which appeared in 1985, "The Castle of Llyr" in 1966, "Taran Wanderer" in 1967, a School Library Journal's Best Book of the Year and "The High King" which won the Newberry Award. Many of his other books have also received awards, such as "The Fortune Tellers," which was a Boston Globe Horn Book Award winner. In 1986, Alexander won the Regina Medal for Lifetime Achievement from the Catholic Library Association. His titles have been translated into many languages including, Dutch, Spanish, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Serbo-Croation and Swedish. <p> He died on May 17, 2007. <p> (Bowker Author Biography)