Cover image for Who said that? : famous Americans speak
Who said that? : famous Americans speak
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt, c1997.
Physical Description:
45 p. : illustrations.
Added Author:
A collection of quotations along with the story behind the words and the people who voiced them.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 808.882 BUR 1 1
Book Q J 808.882 BUR 1 1

On Order



Have you ever stumbled upon a famous quote and thought, "Who said that?" Well, now you can find out in this amusing and informative introduction to quotes and quoters.

Here's a little quiz. Who said:

"Ain't I a woman?"

" The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

"I've been on calendars - but I've never been on time."

If you guessed Sojourner Truth, Franklin Delanor Roosevelt, and Marilyn Monroe, you're right. From the serious, to the sublime, to the witty, Robert Burleigh's spirited text gives us the stories behind the words and the people who voiced them, while David Catrow's drawings provide satirical insights into the lives and times of these noted Americans.

So are you ready to start guessing?

"Man, if you have to ask, you'll never know."

If you want to know who said that - read on.

Author Notes

Robert Burleigh can relate best to Daniel Boone's words, "I've never been lost; but I was bewildered once for three days." When not bewildered, however, Mr. Burleigh paints, sculpts, and writes books for young readers. He lives in Chicago.

David Catrow is a nationally syndicated political cartoonist. He is the illustrator of many books for children, including That's Good! That's Bad! by Margery Cuyler and Over the River and Through the Wood by Lydia Maria Child. The recipient of two New York Times Best Illustrated Book Awards, David Catrow lives in Springfield, Ohio, with his family.

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7‘Brief quotations from famous Americans are accompanied by satirical pen-and-ink caricatures and a short explanation of the subject's place in history. The author's introduction states his purpose clearly: "Quotations can be ways to learn about people...ways to get new information, and...just plain fun." The wacky (some would say goofy) cover illustration of Harpo Marx sets the tone for this irreverent look at a wide variety of individuals. Burleigh has assembled a multicultural group of men and women from the 18th through the 20th centuries, such as Benjamin Franklin, Daniel Boone, Abigail Adams, Mother Jones, Groucho Marx, Louis Armstrong, Marilyn Monroe, and Babe Ruth. The caricatures range from clever (Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton brewing up a pot of "Revolution" on a stove) to the less tasteful (Martin Luther King, Jr.'s highly exaggerated oratory expression and Abraham Lincoln spewing phlegm when he is sick with smallpox). The humor is akin to the style of Mad magazine and appealing to middle-grade sensibilities. Although the text does not go into a lot of detail, it does provide snapshots of the subjects and may inspire readers to look for more information. Laid-back and nonthreatening, this book would be especially useful for reluctant readers.‘Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

Short quotations provide the framework for this collection of mini-biographies of thirty-three famous Americans. The breezy text, while informative, contains few citations for the quotations, and no source notes or references are listed. Catrow's zany (and, surprisingly, often touching) pen and ink caricatures and portraits are the real draw. From HORN BOOK 1997, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-8. The author of Flight (1991), a children's picture-book record of Charles Lindbergh's most famous flight, takes another eminently successful crack at biography, this time in a collective fashion and for an older audience. Here, he uses quotes to set up lively thumbnail profiles of 33 personalities. Only two of the people are still living, but many of the individuals will be familiar to middle-grade and junior-high readers as prominent historical figures--Benjamin Franklin, Red Cloud, Sojourner Truth, Abigail Adams, Martin Luther King, Jr. There are, however, a few surprises, including a number of cultural icons from the arts--Marilyn Monroe, Jackson Pollock, and Louis Armstrong, for example. The spirited text, which offers insight into each speaker's renown as well as some background for the quote, is often wryly humorous and bears the strong stamp of Burleigh's own voice. Catrow, an award-winning, nationally syndicated political cartoonist, provides humorous visuals percolating with clever details that enrich the historical context and add to the fun. His endpapers are a cacophonous roundup of ears and mouths. Not everyone will catch the joke associated with Harpo Marx's appearance on the dust jacket--Marx brothers' movies may not be on the average contemporary kid's list of TV viewing--and some of the wonderful subtleties in Catrow's marvelous black-and-white caricatures and sketches demand more background than children may have. But this is a fine choice for browsers and young people who relish history, and it offers enormous classroom possibilities for discussing and interpreting the famous words. Why is it that when some people talk, we all listen? --Stephanie Zvirin