Just Being Jackie

The team behind Just Being Audrey (as in Hepburn) returns with another look at a stylish midcentury icon who was, make no mistake, beautiful both inside and out.

Margaret Cardillo introduces Jacqueline Bouvier as the sort of gal who got right back on her horse after she fell--even literally, when, as a child, she toppled from her horse on her first day at riding camp. Bookish and set on a career after college, Jackie ranked being a journalist over landing a man--until she met John F. Kennedy. When her husband became the 35th president of the United States, Jackie brought her progressive ideas about art and culture to the White House. She traveled with the president and won over foreign dignitaries with her charm--an unofficial diplomat in couture and pearls. Cardillo is probably not being hyperbolic when she writes, "With Jackie representing America, diplomatic relations only improved."

After JFK was killed in 1963--Julia Denos adroitly marks the assassination with a splotchy gray page scattered with red petals from the bouquet Jackie has been holding--the world got the chance to see the first lady's "steel under all that beauty and style," but Cardillo has already made it clear that the steel was always there. Inevitably, Jackie got right back on that horse: she picked up and moved her children to Manhattan, where she saved historic Grand Central Terminal from demolition and became a book editor.

Just Being Jackie is a worthy addition to the list of kids' biographies seeking to add depth and dimension to their famous subjects. On page after page, Denos's pastel-colored pencil, watercolor and pen-and-ink art gets Jackie's wide-set eyes and regal bearing just right, to say nothing of those fabulous evolving hairstyles. --Nell Beram, freelance writer and YA author

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