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These short pieces may start young people on the search for more information about these intriguing figures.

Highlighting women writers, educators, and reformers from the 18th and early 19th centuries, Roberts brings a group of women, many not so well-known, into focus and provides a new perspective on the early history of the United States in this picture-book version of her adult book of the same title (2008).

The women include Lucy Terry Prince, a persuasive speaker who created the first poem (an oral piece not written down for over 100 years after its creation) by an African-American; Elizabeth Bayley Seton, the first American-born saint and the founder of Catholic institutions including schools, hospitals, and orphanages; and Rebecca Gratz, a young philanthropist who started many organizations to help the Jewish community in Philadelphia. The author usually uses some quotes from primary-source materials and enlivens her text with descriptive events, such as Meriweather Lewis’ citation of Sacagawea’s “equal fortitude” with the males of the exploration party during a storm, saving many supplies when their boat capsized. The sepia-hued pen-and-ink drawings are inspired by the letters of the era, and the soft watercolor portraits of the women and the paintings that reveal more of their stories are traditional in feeling. In her introduction, the author emphasizes the importance of historical materials, such as letters, organizational records, journals, and books written at the time. Despite this, there is no bibliography or other means of sourcing quoted material.

These short pieces may start young people on the search for more information about these intriguing figures. (Informational picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-078005-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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Thanks to the strenuous efforts of her successor, Tuthmosis III, to eliminate all evidence of her 15th-century b.c.e. reign, the historical record is particularly spotty for Hatshepsut, the most successful of the few women who became rulers of ancient Egypt. Still, hedging the speculative portions of her narrative with plenty of “perhaps”-es and “probably”-s, Andronik (Prince of Humbugs: A Life of P.T. Barnum, 1994) assembles a credible, coherent reconstruction. Coming to power largely due to attrition in the royal family, Hatshepsut assumed an office that had no female referents. Consequently, to reinforce her position, she dressed as a man, even in a false beard, and often referred to herself as a man—which confused the eminent 19th-century archaeologist Champollion, for one, to no end. Basing his figures on ancient statuary and wall paintings, Fiedler creates illustrations in the formal Egyptian style and grand manner, evoking more sense of time and place than personality, but imbuing his portraits of Hatshepsut with a regal air. Younger students of Ancient Egypt and women’s history alike will find this careful, but not stuffy, study worthwhile, and the closing bibliography of fiction and nonfiction provides some intriguing follow-up reading. (Biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-82562-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2000

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Abigail Adams, wife and mother of American presidents, with a remarkable story of her own, gets a rather dull introduction to her life in Wallner's (Sergio and the Hurricane, 2000, etc.) picture-book biography. Wallner's text plods through Abigail's life, noting important dates and events, particularly the birth of all her children. Abigail supports her husband in his fight for independence at home, where she runs the family farm and manages the finances and her growing family. She also joins Adams in England when he is ambassador there. Later, she becomes the first president's wife to live in the White House. Abigail is shown as a strong woman, disappointed in her efforts to win a place for women and blacks in the new Constitution. Readers learn about Abigail's thoughts and personality as she matures from child to adult, from homemaker to public figure, but unfortunately we do not hear more than a few phrases in Abigail's own voice. Abigail, who is known through her many published letters, was a lively and interesting correspondent and little of that liveliness permeates this effort. The author's folkart-style illustrations depict a homely group of colonialists in pleasantly colorful detail. A timeline and bibliography would have been helpful to young researchers. This intelligent, early feminist and civil-rights advocate deserves better. (Biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8234-1442-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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