NONFICTION

Think Smart, Be Fearless: A Biography of Bill Gates

Sasquatch/Little Bigfoot. Oct. 2019. 48p. chron. glossary. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781632171764.
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Gr 1-5–This ambitious picture book biography attempts to cover the entirety of Bill Gates’s life. Thus, the sweeping approach makes the work feel weighed down. Certain connections in the text are unclear. For example, Paul Allen is introduced as a fellow student at Lakeside School, but he is not mentioned again until Bill is at Harvard and “Paul burst into Bill’s dorm room.” Mildenberger’s enchanting illustrations are full of clever thematic details, like the clouds of zeroes and ones that follow Gates around after he discovers coding. Yet there is a disconnect between the age of the audience who would most appreciate the art and readers who would most likely be able to process the depth and breadth of the text.
VERDICT Children who are deeply interested in technology are likely to enjoy this book, but those without that specialized interest may lose motivation to read to the end. Recommended only as an additional purchase.

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