As a dramatic book reviewer, Jenny motivates, educates, and entertains audiences with her unique interpretations of best-selling books in which she becomes the characters telling their real-life stories. For more than fifteen years, Jenny has been delighting audiences with her captivating style of storytelling. At the end of each review, Jenny also shares her current “favorite reads.”
Youtube–Bringing Books to Life:
List of Current Reviews:
Jackie, Janet & Lee: The Secret Lives of Janet Auchincloss and Her Daughters, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Lee Radziwill
(Ready May 1, 2018)
When Jackie Bouvier first started dating John Kennedy, Jackie’s mother Janet commented, “John has an impressive pedigree, but doesn’t he look a little unkempt?” You know the phrase we often hear and use when we are discussing relationships–“It’s complicated”–well that is a good description of how Janet (Bouvier, Auchincloss) and her daughters, Jackie (Bouvier, Kennedy, Onassis) and Lee (Bouvier, Canfield, Radziwill, Ross) interacted.
Eight Books to Inspire, Intrigue, Entertain, Maybe Even Change You!
Get ready for this fast-paced, motivational, giant book review as Jenny dramatizes and distills fascinating stories and one-of-a-kind advice from 8 bestsellers, including Kirk and Anne Douglas, Lesley Stahl’s Becoming Grandma, Sheryl Sandberg’s Option B, Alan Alda’s If I Understood You, Would I have This Look On My Face? and MORE!
Ray & Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald’s Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away
Did you know that the first McDonald’s was actually an orange juice stand? And, despite Ray Kroc’s claim that he built the first McDonald’s in Des Plaines, IL in 1955, it’s simply not true! Otherwise, we’d be eating Big Kroc’s instead of Big Mac’s.
Let Jenny Riddle share more tidbits about Ray and Joan Kroc as she brings to life Lisa Napoli’s best-seller, RAY AND JOAN. Jenny, in the role of Joan Kroc, will give you many insights into the man who made the McDonald’s fortune and the woman (Joan) who gave it all away. Sure, Ray was a philanthropist who donated huge sums to medical research into diseases such as arthritis on the advice of his PR team! Hmmm. After Ray’s death, Joan gave away even huger sums to causes such as the anti-proliferation of nuclear weapons movement, the treatment of alcohol and AIDS, the establishment of Hospice Centers throughout the U. S., to name a few—and usually gifted anonymously. And what were Ray and Joan like as people?
Join Jenny for an entertaining and informative look into the lives of this power couple: RAY AND JOAN.
Mission Possible: True Grit–Then and Now (The Wright Brothers by David McCullough and Lab Girl by Hope Jahren)
The Wright Brothers’ determination to change history with their “flying machine” was unparalleled. Hope Jahren’s unwavering dedication to unlocking the wondrous “machines” of plants and trees is eye-opening and inspiring. In her new dramatic book review, Jenny brings these two amazing books to life. As Katherine Wright, Jenny shows Katherine’s steadfast devotion to her brilliant brothers, the positive influence of their close-knit family, and her brothers’ gifts of ingenuity, patience, and determination. As Hope Jahren, Jenny shares Hope’s remarkable journey to become a scientist, her single-minded dedication to her work, and her passion for revealing, in poetic and astonishing descriptions, the secret lives of plants. You will never look at a tree the same way again!
Find a Way by Diana Nyad
On September 2, 2013, at the age of sixty-four, Diana Nyad emerged onto the sands of Key West after swimming 111 miles, nation to nation, Cuba to Florida, in an epic feat of both endurance and human will, in fifty-three hours. Diana carried three poignant messages on her way across this stretch of shark-infested waters, and she spoke them to the crowd in her moment of final triumph:
- Never, ever give up.
- You’re never too old to follow your dreams.
- It looks like a solitary sport, but it’s a TEAM.
Find a Way is a unique, passionate story of Nyad’s heroic adventure and the extraordinary life experiences that have served to carve her unwavering spirit. Join Jenny for this inspiring dramatization.
Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington by Cokie Roberts
Jenny Riddle’s review will captivate you as she presents some of the women in Cokie Roberts’ best seller, CAPITAL DAMES. You’ll be familiar with such names as Dorothea Dix, Mary Todd Lincoln, and Sojourner Truth, but what do you know about Jessie (Mrs. John “The Pathfinder”) Fremont; Varina (Mrs. Jefferson) Davis; Elizabeth Blair Lee; or ex-slave, Mrs. Lizzie Keckley? You don’t want to miss learning how these women and others in Roberts’ book reacted to the war, influenced the war, and moved women farther along the road to enlightenment and equality. Can you imagine a young female teacher in the mid 1850’s telling a school board as she turned down their job offer, “I will never do a man’s work for less than a man’s pay.” Clara Barton did just that–and she got the job! Join Jenny as she shares the stories of the women of The Civil War.
Catherine the Great: Empress of Russia
Come meet Jenny as Catherine the Great. Jenny brings this fascinating woman to life in her dramatic book review, Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert Massie. “Catherine” has lots of secrets to tell about her dramatic rise to power from a little-known princess to her thirty-four-year reign as Empress of Russia. Learn how Catherine’s passion for books and learning, her ability to keep her cool, her famous liaisons, and her enlightened philosophy made her one of the most successful women of all time. It’s a riveting story that you won’t want to miss.
Famous First Ladies
We Americans have always been fascinated by the White House–a symbol of power and prestige of our country. We know so much about the Presidents and the families who lived there from our history books, and more recently movies and television. But most of what we read or see is about the public personas of those people. Join Jenny Riddle as she dramatizes, in character, the personal lives of three remarkable First Ladies. (Hillary Clinton makes a surprise visit at the end and even sings a song.)
Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows
In this dramatic book review, Jenny Riddle portrays Chicago street photographer, Vivian Maier, the North Shore nanny whose remarkable gift for photography has, posthumously, taken the world by storm. Based on the extraordinary book, Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams, Jenny, in character, reveals the fascinating details of this story of “buried treasure” and one woman’s private passion and genius for photography.
I’m nobody, who are you?
Are you nobody too?
Then there’s a pair of us–don’t tell!
They’ll banish–you know!
Maier’s story is reminiscent of Emily Dickinson’s; both women had remarkable gifts not revealed until after their deaths.
Julie Andrews’ Home: The Early Years
Everyone remembers Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins and Maria Von Trapp, but who was she before that? The voice that Julie Andrews thought of as a “gimmick” at age 10 became one of the most recognizable voices in the world. Join Jenny as she dramatizes the life of Julie Andrews, before she was Mary or Maria, telling her story and singing her songs, in her presentation of Julie Andrews’ memoir, Home: The Early Years.
Shirley Temple Black
What happens to a famous child movie star when she’s no longer a curly-haired cute kid? When Shirley Temple Black died in February, 2014, she was praised by everyone from George and Barbara Bush to New York Times writer Aljean Harnetz as a woman who was an American icon. As a child star, Shirley Temple was the darling of Americans suffering through the Depression. As an adult, she was the epitome of a patriot as she served in the United Nations and as Ambassador to Ghana and then Czechoslovakia. Join Jenny as she brings this fascinating woman to life based on John Kasson’s new book, The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression: Shirley Temple and 1930’s America and Temple’s autobiography, Child Star.
We Will Survive: Emily Post, The Bag Lady Papers, and You Look Fine, Really!
How do women survive the dilemmas that life throws at them? In this uplifting Book Review, “We Will Survive,” Jenny Riddle gives you the coping mechanisms of three very different women. As Emily Post, Jenny will set you straight on which fork to use first at a formal dinner, but you will be surprised at some of Emily’s advice in Laura Claridge’s biography Emily Post: Mistress of American Manners. In the second short review, you’ll meet Alexandra Penney whose book The Bag Lady Papers shows what one person suffered in the Madoff “rip-off” scandal. Finally, Jenny will put a smile on your face as she dramatizes Christie Mellor’s book, You Look Fine, Really. She quickly takes you through the minefield of hilarious problems today’s women must cope with. Enjoy the journey with Jenny as she tells how these three women did survive in fine fashion.
Audition: A Memoir by Barbara Watlers
How did Barbara Walters cut through that glass ceiling and manage to be on the cutting edge of television performance for 40 years? Is she just lucky–or did she create her “luck” with hard work and chutzpah? And how did she get that first big interview with Barbra Streisand and her live-in hairdresser, what’s his name? We’ve all seen Walters doing her thing with interviews and news shows and, now, THE VIEW. But how about a close-up of Barbara Walters off-camera? Jenny Riddle gives us just that and more in her show, “Barbara Walters’ AUDITION.” You’re going to learn some intimate details about this woman who was the first woman co-anchor on prime time news and who is the most celebrated interviewer in t.v. history. What do you want to know? Jenny will tell all!
Christmas at the White House: A History in Story and Song
“Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays” unless you are the President of the United States, and then, “There’s no place like the White House for the holidays.” Christmas at the White House is indeed magical as so many First Ladies and Presidents through the years have attested. Join Jenny Riddle and Elizabeth Doyle as they enchant audiences with classic carols and surprising tales of White House celebrations through the years.
Pets at the White House: A History in Story and Song
Did you know that Thomas Jefferson had a pet mockingbird who often sat on his master’s shoulder? Or that cows and goats used to graze on the White House lawn? Or that Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Scottish terrier Fala traveled with the President and attended parties with world leaders? In “Pets at the White House,” the dynamic singing and acting duo, Jenny Riddle and Elizabeth Doyle, delight audiences with wonderful stories and songs about the four-legged, beaked, and pawed inhabitants who have resided at the White House throughout the decades.With upbeat music and fascinating and little-known anecdotes, Jenny and Elizabeth reveal how pets have played an important role at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, not only by providing companionship to the presidents and their families, but also by humanizing and softening their political images. Join Jenny and Elizabeth for this unique and uplifting show.