That's Betty! -- The Story of Betty White -- a new picture book to honor this American Treasure


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

On December 31, 2021, the news of Betty White's death saddened the country. She was weeks shy of her 100th birthday. With the pandemic still going on people were upset that 2021 took yet another beloved person and thing from the normalcy of life. Shortly after her death #bettywhitechallenge was everywhere. The idea was to donate $5 to a local animal shelter in honor of Betty White on her 100th birthday, January 17, 2022. Betty White was a huge animal lover and spoke out for them often. Well people in the United States and elsewhere honored Betty for her birthday. On Facebook and Instagram alone $12.7 million was donated to animal shelters. (Source) The LA Zoo got almost $95,000 in donations. The Calgary Humane Society in Canada posted that it received over $91,000 (Canadian) in honor of Betty White. (Source) And that does not even cover the small animals shelters that people like me donated to directly. After her death Betty White was making a difference. Today I get to share a wonderful new picture book about Betty White. It is called That's Betty! The Story of Betty White by Gregory Bonsignore and illustrated by Jennifer M. Potter. It is recommended for ages 4 to 8. It is also a multicultural children's book. 

From the Publisher:

An innovative and joyful picture book biography that celebrates the life and achievements of TV legend, pioneer, and activist Betty White.

Betty White is a legend and icon (but you already knew that).

In her eighty-year career, she starred on some of the most beloved shows of all time (like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls, along with dozens more) and received multiple Emmy, American Comedy, and Screen Actors Guild Awards, as well as a Grammy and People’s Choice Award, not to mention a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

More than creating some of the most memorable roles in history, Betty helped to make the world a better and more equal place. Early in her career, at a time when women had little power in Hollywood, she starred in, directed, and produced her own shows, creating opportunities for other women and for people from marginalized groups. She campaigned to end bullying and has stood up for the LGBTQIA+ community. And she devoted much of her life advocating for the fair treatment of animals.

This innovative picture book biography follows a young boy who is doing a class presentation about Betty White…with a little help from Betty herself! Whimsical yet fact-filled, That’s Betty! tells the story of a life well-lived while celebrating Betty’s many fans.

From Me:

Let's start with the premise of this book. The teacher assigns a multicultural class to create a presentation about a trailblazing woman. You can see in the sample page above the class is diverse and even includes a child in a wheelchair. A boy picks Betty White. The teacher does not think his choice is that great and certainly isn't traditional. His dads (yes, he has two fathers of different races) have mixed opinions on his choice. He goes to the library to do his research and his favorite librarian is there--male and vegetarian. Before we even get into the facts of Betty White let's look at the diversity in this book!! 

The book shares many ways that Betty White was a trailblazing woman. She had the longest career in the history of television--80 years!! In 1954 she got her own show. This was a time when very few women worked in television. She not only hosted The Betty White Show but also produced it! She cast a Black dancer named Arthur Duncan and when the television station tried to fight it she insisted on having him on the show. In 1961 she fell in love with her third husband, Allen Ludden, on the set of the game show Password. She hosted the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for ten years and the Tournament of Roses Parade for twenty years. She starred in more than one hundred television shows and movies. She won Emmy Awards for her roles in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Golden Girls. It even mentions her love of animals. She was on the board of the American Humane Society and has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit animals. Thus, the reason behind the #bettywhitechallenge.

While the boy is in the library researching Betty White a woman comes up and tells him even more about Betty than he found in books. He even gives her a call the night before his presentation. She even makes an appearance in his presentation, for which he is dressed up as Betty White. It isn't until after she leaves the school that he realizes it is Betty White!

This book shares so much about Betty White but does it in a very fun way. It pulls in many of the things she fought so hard for including LGBTQIA+ rights, Black people, animals and so much more. Plus, it truly shows what a trailblazer she was. The book was written prior to her death so it does not mention it. At the end of the book is a timeline of Betty's life and it includes 2022 she turns 100. I do not know if there has been or will be a revision of it. This book is perfect for every classroom, library, and more. It is definitely a must-read for Women's History Month. I hope you will check it out!