Picture of girl, all in color, with adults in black and white. Caption reads, "Addie never wanted to be ordinary."In Anything but Ordinary Addie, lush illustrations and sparkling text tell the story of unconventional Adelaide Herrmann, who embarked on a career without her family’s knowledge, proposed to her husband, and transitioned from magician’s assistant to successful stage magician upon the death of her husband.

I loved the story of this gutsy woman. Rockliff keeps the text moving sprightly along without resorting to invented quotations.

When Addie told her family what she was doing, they were SHOCKED.

Our Addie? On the stage? In front of everyone? IN TIGHTS?

It’s a simple punctuation solution (NOT using quotation marks) to a common dilemma in picture book biographies.

The back matter adds additional layers to the text in the book. One back essay gives more delicious details about Adelaide’s remarkable life. The other essay, titled “Searching for Addie,” tells the story of how Adelaide’s autobiography was lost to history. The essay also talks about other sources used for this biography.

The “About the Author” information on the jacket flap is worth checking out, too. It tells what originally interested Rockliff in this subject and will appeal to just about every middle school girl I know.

The back matter also has a link to the solution to one of Addie’s mystifying tricks.

Anything but Ordinary Addie: The True Story of Adelaide Herrmann, Queen of Magic by Mara Rockliff, illustrations by Iacopo Bruno. Candlewick: 2016

Children around a globe.

I participate in Kid Lit Frenzy’s Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge.