Review by Booklist Review
This impressively broad and engaging collection of brief biographies ranges thousands of years of human history, around the world, and across a variety of disciplines that include intellectual and athletic achievements (Angela Zhang and Pelé), activists (Ryan White and Salma Kakar), monarchs (Baldwin IV of Jerusalem), and the arts (Stevie Wonder, Pablo Picasso, Quvenzhané Wallis). Many of the subjects featured have been born since 1990 and accomplished their most notable achievements as children or teens. In several cases, the activists were involved in group efforts, such as the 1899 newsboy strikers in the U.S., and Germany's Swingkinder during WWII. Accompanied by Petrus' appealing sketched portraits, the profiles of the individuals featured contain enough background information family, social class, disability, or extraordinary talent, for instance to make the achievements impressive and relevant to contemporary readers. Although there is a lengthy bibliography, specific citations to asserted facts are not included, making this thematically arranged collection better suited to excellent inspirational reading than research.--Goldsmith, Francisca Copyright 2016 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 4-7-Mitchell introduces a group of amazing children and women from many fields. In Kids, she provides very brief chapters on impressive kids who represent many cultures and time periods; included are the famous, such as Stevie Wonder, Emma Watson, Joan of Arc, Louis Braille, and Anne Frank, and the little known (Marc Márquez, Q'orianka Kilcher, Maria Gaetana Agnesi, and Elagabalus). Likewise, 50 Unbelievable Women highlights both iconic (Catherine the Great, Marie Curie, Julia Child, and Harriet Tubman) and more obscure (Tegla Loroupe, Murasaki Shikibu, and Diane Humetewa) women. Most of the stories positively reflect the subjects' lives. However, the writing is dry and the information is scant, especially in Women. Though the figures are culturally diverse, political diversity is lacking, as all of the modern American women affiliated with politics espouse liberal views. Mitchell includes Ruth Bader Ginsburg (whom she erroneously refers to as "the first Jewish person to serve on the Supreme Court") but excludes Sandra Day O'Connor. Mitchell's desire to showcase the positive aspects of the people she depicts may lead to some misconceptions (readers could be forgiven for thinking that Catherine the Great was a nice ruler who truly cared about her subjects). Additionally, some of the subjects of Kids were already adults before they achieved anything of note (Mary Shelley was 19 when she wrote Frankenstein). VERDICT Despite the laudable topic, the sparse content and lack of balance make these volumes of little value. Children will be better served by Kathleen Krull's Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (and What the Neighbors Thought) (HMH, 2000) and Grosset & Dunlap's "Who Was" and "Who Is" series for more thorough explorations of notable individuals.-Margaret Nunes, Gwinnett County Public Library, GA © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Why should grown-ups get all the historical, scientific, athletic, cinematic, and artistic glory? Choosing exemplars from both past and present, Mitchell includes but goes well beyond Alexander the Great, Anne Frank, and like usual suspects to introduce a host of lesser-known luminaries. These include Shapur II, who was formally crowned king of Persia before he was born, Indian dancer/professional architect Sheila Sri Prakash, transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, inventor Param Jaggi, and an international host of other teen or preteen activists and prodigies. The individual portraits range from one paragraph to several pages in length, and they are interspersed with group tributes to, for instance, the Nazi-resisting "Swingkinder," the striking New York City newsboys, and the marchers of the Birmingham Children's Crusade. Mitchell even offers would-be villains a role model in Elagabalus, "boy emperor of Rome," though she notes that he, at least, came to an awful end: "Then, then! They dumped his remains in the Tiber River, to be nommed by fish for all eternity." The entries are arranged in no evident order, and though the backmatter includes multiple booklists, a personality quiz, a glossary, and even a quick Braille primer (with Braille jokes to decode), there is no index. Still, for readers whose fires need lighting, there's motivational kindling on nearly every page. A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats. (finished illustrations not seen) (Collective biography. 10-13) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.