Reviews for First Girl Scout : The Life of Juliette Gordon Low

Booklist Reviews 2011 December #1
In time for the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) comes this engaging biography about the woman who founded the organization. Juliette Gordon Low, known throughout her life as Daisy, was lively, charming, a notoriously bad speller, and full of ideas. Born into a well-connected Savannah family, she lived a life of privilege. As a grown woman--creative, artistically gifted, and married into British high society--Low sought purpose in her life. Vocation finally came in 1911, when she met Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts. Meticulously researched and well illustrated with photographs and documents taken from the GSUSA archives, the book explores the early history of scouting, but the main focus is Low's life. Low lived through three major wars, endured a heart-breaking marital demise, and was partially deaf for most of her adult life. Despite these hardships, her social and economic advantages enabled her to give American girls the opportunity to find their purpose, just as she spent a lifetime looking for hers. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #6
By age twenty-six Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low was completely deaf in one ear and permanently impaired in the other. This disability might have hindered a less tenacious woman in the late 1800s, but Daisy Low was no ordinary woman, as Wadsworth reveals in this in-depth biography. After a nineteen-year marriage ended in divorce, Low met General Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, in England. She became actively involved with the Scouts' sister organization, the Girl Guides, and eventually decided to bring the group to America. In 1912 Low founded the Girl Scouts -- a pioneering organization designed to help empower girls of all races and ethnicities as part of a troop "cooking, learning first aid, taking nature hikes, wearing uniforms, and earning badges." The Girl Scouts would flourish during WWI, and Wadsworth seamlessly includes information about the organization (such as the origins of its famous cookie-selling) and its continued success after Low's death in 1927. Wadsworth captures Low's stubborn but charismatic spirit by blending facts and humorous sketches in this winning biography of a woman whose visions and ideas have helped shape the lives of girls around the world. Numerous archival photos and papers supplement the text, and an author's note, chronology, source not s, bibliography, and index are appended. cynthia k. ritter Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 October #1
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) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 January #1

In a biography as engaging as it is comprehensive, Wadsworth (Camping with the President) documents the life of Juliette Gordon Low, who founded the Girl Scouts in 1912. Headstrong, artistic, and boundlessly energetic, Georgia native Low spent many years living in Britain, where her involvement in the Girl Guides organization sparked the idea of launching a similar group in the U.S. Neatly framed photographs and other period documents related to Low are smoothly incorporated into the book's overall clean design, appearing against pale green pages sometimes printed with a fabric texture that nods toward the Scouts' uniforms. The narrative moves briskly, despite the copious details Wadsworth includes (Low's style of entertaining, numerous trips to visit family, marital woes, and the minutiae of starting and running the Girl Scouts). The author skillfully sets Low's life story against historical backdrops: during the Civil War, Low's father joined the Confederate army while her Chicago-bred mother's brothers fought for the Union. Numerous quotations from Low's correspondence and glimpses of her artwork lend further dimension to this well-rounded portrait. Ages 9-12. Agent: Lynn Bennett, Transatlantic Literary Agency. (Feb.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 October

Gr 5-7--This well-documented biography introduces readers to the founder of the Girl Scouts. The first half of the book covers Low's childhood in Georgia (her father was an officer in the Confederate army) and her troubled marriage to a wealthy and well-connected Englishman, William Mackay Low. After her husband's death, Low longed for something to occupy her time, and she found it in 1911, when she met Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts. First she helped his sister run the newly founded Girl Guides in Great Britain; she then brought the concept home to the U.S., where the name was eventually changed to Girl Scouts. Low's personality really comes to life through the details in the narrative. Wadsworth shows readers that this remarkable woman was a skilled leader and hostess in spite of having suffered severe hearing loss that made conversation difficult. Although her friends and family sometimes noted that she was disorganized and a poor manager of money, they knew that she could "stir up their daily lives in delightful, unpredictable and sometimes exasperating ways." The attractive book design features chapter headings that look like Girl Scout badges, and most spreads include period photos or reproductions of primary-source documents. Exemplary nonfiction.--Jackie Partch, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR

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