NONFICTION

That’s Betty! The Story of Betty White

Holt. Nov. 2021. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250796608.
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Gr 3-6–Cleverly written from a child’s perspective, this biography will have readers loving Betty White more and more with each turn of the page. The story begins with a boy of color being given a school assignment to write about a “trailblazing woman.” The boy knows immediately that he must write about Betty White but others around him aren’t so certain. His teacher and one of his dads suggest that he choose someone “more traditional,” but the boy isn’t having it. At the library, he elicits help from Darian the Vegetarian Librarian and also unknowingly receives inside information from a beautiful older woman, wearing sunglasses and floppy hat, hiding amongst the stacks. Throughout his research, he learns that Betty hosted television shows and even produced them at a time when women weren’t typically in that role. Betty also cast Arthur Duncan, a Black performer, in her program and was asked to choose someone “more traditional.” He learns that not only is Betty a multi-Emmy Award winning actress, she also adores animals: “Despite all of her achievements as an actress, Betty has said that she is, first and foremost, someone who loves animals.” Near the end of the book, the boy completes his research and is even offered help with his presentation from the mystery woman at the library, which he smartly accepts. It is only after his presentation that he realizes that the mystery woman is Betty White herself.
VERDICT Written in preparation for White’s upcoming 100th birthday in 2022, this is a must-have for all library shelves.

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