|Efficient, inventive (often annoying) Melvil Dewey|
Author: O'Neill, Alexis
Melvil Dewey's love of organization and words drove him to develop his Dewey Decimal system, leaving a significant impact in libraries across the country.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.80
Points: .5 Quiz: 510317
Kirkus Reviews (-) (09/01/20)
School Library Journal (10/01/20)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/11/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 06/01/2020 Opening with anecdotes about arranging his mother’s kitchen cupboard and trekking 10 miles to buy a dictionary as a boy, this picture-book biography of Melvil Dewey quickly establishes his love for efficiency. Chronological snapshots from his life express his desire to use order to help others, from rescuing books from a burning school to, most notably, developing a consistent numbering system for organizing library books, to forming a library school and library associations. While some applauded his determination, others found Dewey manipulative and controlling, such as when he filled his library school with women because they would work for less money than men. Bold, capitalized words in the text and digital, caricatured illustrations emphasize both sides of his personality. An author’s note also considers the duality of Dewey’s legacy. Other interesting back matter includes a time line, a photo from his library school class, an explanation of the Dewey Decimal Classification system, and Dewey’s other reform passions, such as simplified spellings (which young readers will recognize in text messages). Well organized and thought-provoking, like Dewey himself. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2020 Gr 2–5—Melvil Dewey, the white American librarian credited with creating the Dewey Decimal Classification, is depicted as equal parts brilliant and obnoxious. The narrative begins with Dewey as a child, obsessively organizing his mother's pantry and keeping records of his height and weight. Preoccupied with books, learning, and systems of organizations, young Dewey wanted to leave his mark on the world. After observing the rising number of immigrants to the United States, he concluded that books can help people educate themselves, but they must find the right books. He resolved to work on a method to make libraries consistent in their organization and eventually invented the Dewey Decimal System. He decided to create a school to train librarians at Columbia College (now University), where he worked as the chief librarian and helped start the American Library Association. Despite the legacy and information organization system he left behind, O'Neill makes it clear that Dewey was not an easy person to be around. Obsessive and detail-oriented to a fault, he moved forward like a freight train of ideas, with little consideration of how his ideas might impact those around him. The breathless, run-on quality of O'Neill's prose, combined with Fotheringham's energetic digital illustrations, evoke a well-rounded portrait of a complicated man. An author's note details the impact of Dewey's mistreatment of women and how his racist, anti-Semitic views affected his career and reputation later in life. A time line, additional facts, photographs, and a source list are also appended. VERDICT This refreshingly honest title is recommended for collections where picture book biographies are in demand.—Kristy Pasquariello, Westwood P.L., MA - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.