Bombshell actress Hedy Lamarr was worshipped for her beauty and elegance, but what the public didn’t know was that she was an inventor. Interspersing descriptions of her various inventions and Lamarr’s own words, the straightforward text and appealing, appropriately retro-feeling illustrations present a wide-eyed Lamarr as a multifaceted talent and portray both her life as a Hollywood star and her inquisitiveness and intellectual creativity, from her childhood in Austria through her acting heyday to her recognition as an inventor in her 80s. In this clear, appealing tale of an unsung heroine, Wallmark does not explicitly discuss the second-class status of female scientists but instead focuses on her subject’s personality and achievements. The process of invention and inspiration are explained in a succinct and inspiring way, as is Lamarr’s working partnership with composer and inventor George Antheil; their invention is relevant and used frequently in technology today. Fifty years later, Lamar is recognized, and her response forms the book’s conclusion: “It’s about time.” Wu’s illustrations focus on the book’s white principals but include secondary characters of color, neatly shifting mode to help illustrate the technological principles under discussion. The extensive backmatter includes a timeline, bibliography, further reading—and, emblematic of the subject, a description of Lamarr’s invention and a list of her films.
Revelatory to young audiences in more ways than one. (Picture book/biography. 5-10)