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Hooray for women!

por Marcia Williams

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Discover and cheer the accomplishments of more than seventy amazing women from all over the world and throughout history. They're activists and explorers, scientists and writers and more. And they're all women: Cleopatra, Boudicca, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Florence Nightingale, Marie Curie, Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo, Anne Frank, Wangari Maathai, Mae C. Jemison, Cathy Freeman, and Malala Yousafzai, to name just a few. Marcia Williams, through her lively comic-strip style and a clever combination of facts, quotes, and jokes, invites readers to peruse these extraordinary women's stories, learn about their noteworthy achievements, be inspired to greatness . . . and be thoroughly entertained.… (mais)
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This books features several short biographies of important women over the course of history. Each biography is covered in a two-page spread and told in a comic strip style. The biographies move chronologically from Cleopatra VII (c. 69-30 BCE) to Malala Yousafzai (1997-present).

This book sounded great in theory when I read the review. When I actually had the book in my hands though and flipped through the pages, I realized it was going to be a challenge. Every page is squeezed full of so much text and information. There's the narration of each comic panel plus the dialogue contained within, which should be plenty sufficient. But then the side (and sometimes top) margins contain additional random facts,* some of which make sense to read before the adjacent row of panels and some of which make more sense to read after the adjacent row of panels. Some make more sense to read vertically all together. On top of all that, we have two child narrators who have additional dialogue bubbles all along the bottom gutter of each page spread. It was overwhelmingly to me to see so much on the page and have to figure out what to read first, second, third, etc.

Furthermore, I know the two child narrators are meant to make the history more accessible and relatable, but I found the brother to be ridiculously obtuse. I am not a fan of media that feels the need to sneer a little at boys/men in order to make their point that girls/women are just as strong and capable; in fact, it's quite counter to the point. The point is that gender doesn't matter and every person should pursue their passions/talents.

That all being said, this book was indeed informative in places. And while it did include some big names who are already covered in many other children's biographies, such as Marie Curie and Anne Frank, it also featured some lesser known women of history (or at least, less written about in books for children), such as Boudicca and Cathy Freeman. Six pages at the end make note of still more women with short one or two sentence explanations of their lives; while these didn't quite have enough information to make them super helpful, I guess it could be a jumping off point for children to do their own research if someone here sparks their interest. The last page also has a banner illustration in which the author includes the names of still more important women throughout history who were unable to make the book's page limit.

Also, for what it's worth, I read this book aloud over several weeks to my niece (age 9) and she quite enjoyed it, even though I did not love it myself. Since she is more of the target audience, that should be kept in mind.

*Some of these tidbits were so sparse that they were hardly what could be considered helpful or informative. For instance, next to the panel on Jane Austen's brother sending her novel Northanger Abbey to a publisher, the side margin note says "Scary gothic novels were fashionable at the time." I know because I'm an Austen fan that her book Northanger Abbey is a satire of the popular Gothic genre, but the sentence is this book doesn't make that apparent; it almost makes it sound like Austen's book is a popular Gothic novel. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Jul 29, 2020 |
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Discover and cheer the accomplishments of more than seventy amazing women from all over the world and throughout history. They're activists and explorers, scientists and writers and more. And they're all women: Cleopatra, Boudicca, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Florence Nightingale, Marie Curie, Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo, Anne Frank, Wangari Maathai, Mae C. Jemison, Cathy Freeman, and Malala Yousafzai, to name just a few. Marcia Williams, through her lively comic-strip style and a clever combination of facts, quotes, and jokes, invites readers to peruse these extraordinary women's stories, learn about their noteworthy achievements, be inspired to greatness . . . and be thoroughly entertained.

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