Gr 1-5--This ambitious picture book biography attempts to cover the entirety of Bill Gates's life. Thus, the sweeping approach makes the work feel weighed down. Certain connections in the text are unclear. For example, Paul Allen is introduced as a fellow student at Lakeside School, but he is not mentioned again until Bill is at Harvard and "Paul burst into Bill's dorm room." Mildenberger's enchanting illustrations are full of clever thematic details, like the clouds of zeroes and ones that follow Gates around after he discovers coding. Yet there is a disconnect between the age of the audience who would most appreciate the art and readers who would most likely be able to process the depth and breadth of the text. VERDICT Children who are deeply interested in technology are likely to enjoy this book, but those without that specialized interest may lose motivation to read to the end. Recommended only as an additional purchase.--Elizabeth Lovsin, Deerfield Public Library, ILCopyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
This addition to the Growing to Greatness series focuses its beam on Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who helped spur the personal computing revolution. Mentyka's lengthy biography recounts how Gates voraciously played games and consumed books, and was inspired by the 1962 World's Fair as well as a Teletype machine. From high school and Harvard to Microsoft and the Gates Foundation, the text spotlights its subject's intense pursuit of his interests and his appetite for risk: "If someone told him he was too young, too inexperienced, or something was too difficult, it only made him work harder and think smarter." Mildenberger renders her naïf illustrations in muted hues, and relevant visuals--zeroes and ones, computer keyboards, and myriad worries--ribbon through spreads. Extensive back matter offers a glossary of computer terms, a timeline of Gates's life until 2017 twined with computer history, and more details about the entrepreneur. Ages 5-9. (Oct.)Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.