Starring Steven Spielberg: The Making of a Young Filmmaker

Little, Brown/Christy Ottaviano. (The Truth About Series). Oct. 2022. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316338981.
Gr 3-6–Life stories that focus on an individual’s childhood are particularly appealing to young readers, and the focus of this picture book biography ensures that it will inspire kids who feel familiarity with Spielberg’s early experiences. Enchanted by movie magic from an early age, Spielberg was lucky to be born into a creative family. Realistic, painterly illustrations capture the 1950s era when he was growing up in New Jersey, his fertile imagination beginning to take root through drawing, dressing up, playing pranks, and making music. His camera skills developed after a move to Arizona, though he struggled with anxieties, antisemitism, bullies, poor grades, and tension between his parents, who eventually divorced. The story adeptly links the boy’s fears and hardships to his most celebrated movies and focusing on the filmmaker’s own conviction that even the most fantastical of his stories is based on his own life. The narrative concludes with Spielberg becoming the youngest director at a major studio at the age of 21; a few facts about his later life are also presented as a sequence of images on an old-fashioned filmstrip. The book includes quotation sources, fun facts, and suggestions for age-appropriate viewing of Spielberg’s movies.
VERDICT Inspiring text and illustrations evoke the journey of an iconic filmmaker. Recommended for all collections.

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