Who Was: Figures in Film and Television

6 CDs. 5:48 hrs. Listening Library. Feb. 2017. $50. ISBN 9780399568268. digital download.
Gr 5–8—This audiobook collects six biographies—Lucille Ball, Walt Disney, Jim Henson, Alfred Hitchcock, Bruce Lee, and George Lucas. The unique elements of the print books, namely, the box insets for additional information that break up the chapters, and the time lines come through well in audio format, since distinct pauses are added before and after each inset. Listeners will also appreciate the fact that each biography is separated onto its own disc for easy tracking. The "Who Was" biographies as a whole tend to do a decent job dealing with the more controversial aspects of their subjects' lives, and these selections are no exception. Bruce Lee's youthful gang affiliations and the racist elements of Disney's Song of the South are both addressed well. However, there are some gaps (e.g., Hitchcock's harassment of female stars and Disney's refusal to hire women for creative work) that could have been discussed at an age-appropriate level.
VERDICT The very popular "Who Was" biographies make a successful transition to audiobook format,and will likely be as popular, if not more so, than the print versions.

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