12:53pm PT by Andy Lewis
'I Am Jim Henson' Tells Muppets Founder's Life for Kids
"Ordinary heroes change the world," proclaims Brad Meltzer and Chris Eliopoulos' bestselling series of pint-size biographies for kids, and there might be no better example of that than the subject of the newest one: Jim Henson.
I Am Jim Henson is the perfect example of how Meltzer's text and Eliopoulos' illustration combine to make a charming story. (The best is the way Eliopoulos draws the subjects a mini-me adults. Tiny Jim Henson with a beard is super twee.) The book offers a good overview of Henson's life, from his childhood to the creation of the Muppets and Sesame Street (and avoiding mention of his untimely death). For Henson, the emphasis is on the importance of pretending and on believing in the goodness of others.
Henson is the 11th book in the 3-year-old series and in many ways the most personal for Meltzer. "This is the very first where the person was truly my hero growing up," he said. "For me, it was always Jim Henson and Mr. Rogers. Those were the ones who changed my life. They taught me that there's good in all of us."
The books have been a hit since Day 1, but in the divisive and ugly election season (and even worse post-election moment) parents have flocked to the upbeat stories. In the month after the election, sales of the series jumped over 90 percent versus the previous year.
I Am Jim Henson went on sale Jan. 10. Other books in the series profile Lucille Ball, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Jane Goodall, Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson and Helen Keller. Coming later this year are Sacagawea and Gandhi.