Even readers without Girl Scout credentials can appreciate this competent, photo-laden biography of fearless, feisty founder, Juliette Gordon Low.
Using letters, diaries, news articles and other memorabilia, Wadsworth (Camping with the President, 2009, etc.) creates a candid portrait. Despite Low’s hearing loss and lack of skill at spelling, driving, balancing her checkbook and being on time, her visionary, charismatic and tenacious leadership clearly fueled the rapid growth of the Girl Scouts in the United States. Low's memories of her idyllic childhood summers outdoors, the emotional impact of her failed marriage and her impressive social access all converged to one end: her missionary zeal for bringing an even more ground-breaking, skill-building and career-oriented version of the British Girl Guides movement to America. On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, Wadsworth can be forgiven the mild promotional element of the final chapter. Once a Girl Scout herself, the author reveals that Low was even buried in her Girl Scout uniform, with a telegram from a dear friend in the pocket that read: “You are not only the first Girl Scout but the best Girl Scout of them all.” Readers will be hard-pressed to disagree.
Unvarnished prose, plentiful images and vivid anecdotes set in historical perspective make this chronological account lively and accessible for middle-grade readers. (author’s note, chronology, source notes, bibliography, words and music) (Biography. 9-12)