Should attract aspiring adventurers.

After showcasing risk-taking gals in Women Daredevils (2007), Cummins introduces 10 “dauntless” women born before 1900 whose little-known deeds “contribut[ed] to science, geography, history, and cultural understanding” at a time when “proper ladies simply did not go gallivanting around the world to explore new territories.”

Starting with Louise Boyd, who traded stylish dresses for boots and breeches to explore the Arctic, and closing with Daisy Bates, who studied Australian Aborigines for 35 years, Cummins presents breezy three-to-four–page biographies of her unconventional females. The variety of their endeavors astound. Nellie Cashman “rushed” for gold in British Columbia, the Klondike and Alaska; botanist Ynes Mexia collected thousands of plants in the wilderness of Mexico, the United States and the Amazon; Lucy Cheesman sojourned with cannibals while studying insects in the South Pacific. Suffragist Annie Peck scaled Europe and South America’s highest peaks. Dutch heiress Alexandrine Tinné searched for the Nile’s source and was murdered traversing the Sahara. Delia Akeley became the first woman to cross Africa. Violet Cressy-Marcks made eight trips around the world, and Freya Stark traveled throughout the Middle East. In an engaging, informative style, Cummins highlights fascinating facts about these feisty females “who conquered the unknown.” Dramatic watercolor illustrations memorialize each.

Should attract aspiring adventurers. (author’s note and list of additional female explorers; selected bibliography, websites) (Collective biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3713-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012



Still, for armchair tourists, a broad if rosy picture of our neighbor to the north.

Arrays of small color photos, cartoons and occasional comic-book pages provide visuals for a young traveler’s lively if superficial account of a quick province-by-province drive across Canada.

Bowers’ travelogue is similar in tone and content but aimed at a younger audience than her Wow Canada (2010) (and proceeds east to west before looping north, rather than the reverse). She takes her 9-year-old narrator to cities, roadside attractions and natural wonders from Cape Spear to Iqaluit. The child's observations are interspersed with side comments (“We walked around the lake until the mosquitoes had sucked all our blood”) and brief info-dumps from tour guides, a fact-loving little cousin and others. Simplification leads to some misinformation (no, the West Edmonton Mall is not the “world’s biggest,” nor is it strictly accurate to claim that Lake Michigan is “the only [great] lake not in Canada”). Ultimately and unfortunately, readers will come away knowing much more about regional foods (“Tried eating haggis. Big mistake”) and other artifacts of European settlement than newer immigrant populations or even, until the chapter on Nunavut, First Nations.

Still, for armchair tourists, a broad if rosy picture of our neighbor to the north. (maps, index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: May 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-77049-255-4

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012




Well-informed and much-idealized if not entirely simplistic pictures of both the great man and his bustling estate.

Stepping carefully around the controversies, a former curator at Monticello reconstructs the septuagenarian Jefferson’s active daily round.

Jefferson’s fixed routine begins with a faithful recording of temperature and weather at first rising and ends with a final period of solitary reading by candlelight in his unusual alcove bed. In between, the author describes in often fussy detail the range of his interests and enterprises. There’s not only his “polygraph” and other beloved gadgets, but also meals, family members, visitors, and excursions to Monticello’s diverse gardens, workshops and outbuildings. Like the dialogue, which mixes inventions with historical utterances, the generous suite of visuals includes photos of furnishings and artifacts as well as stodgy full-page tableaux and vignettes painted by Elliott. The “slaves” or “enslaved” workers (the author uses the terms interchangeably) that Jefferson encounters through the day are all historical and named—but Sally Hemings and her Jeffersonian offspring are conspicuously absent (aside from a brief name check buried in the closing timeline). Jefferson adroitly sidesteps a pointed question from his grandson, who accompanies him on his rounds, by pleading his age: “The work of ending slavery is for the young.”

Well-informed and much-idealized if not entirely simplistic pictures of both the great man and his bustling estate. (sidebars, endnotes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0541-0

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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