Reviews for Women Explorers : Perils, Pistols, and Petticoats

Booklist Reviews 2012 March #1
"Go west, young woman" could be the foundational decree for this book about 10 fearless ladies and their adventures in some of the most inhospitable regions of the world. Librarian-author Cummins mentions in her endnote that women's achievements in exploring the unknown have long been slighted by history books, and she seeks to rectify this oversight. One of the most compelling stories is about Lucy Evelyn Cheesman, a petite, middle-aged woman of upper-class means, who traveled the South Pacific studying rare insects and living among cannibalistic tribes. Annie Smith Peck's story is equally fascinating: she climbed the Matterhorn in 1895 and Mount Huascarán in 1908, at a time when a female wearing pants was considered scandalous. Harness' vibrant illustrations create a sense of place that perfectly complements each explorer's narrative. The figures included in the book are worth remembering not just because they were women but because they were remarkable adventure-seekers and barrier-breakers, and they will foster curiosity among young male and female readers alike. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
This welcome companion to Women Daredevils: Thrills, Chills, and Frills profiles Freya Stark, Daisy Bates, and eight other explorers, all born before 1900 and all, Cummins convincingly argues, overlooked because they were "saddled with gender barriers... Females belonged at home!" Neither author nor illustrator can contain her enthusiasm for her subjects ("She was some awesome Aussie, pistol-packin' mama!"). Websites. Bib.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 January #1
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) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2012 March

Gr 3-6--At a time when "even the idea of women wearing pants was scandalous," Louise Boyd explored the Arctic; Ynes Mexia lived with headhunters while collecting plant specimens in the Amazon; Alexandrine Tinn searched for the source of the Nile River; and the knowledge gained by Freya Stark's travels into remote areas of the Middle East benefited the British War Office during World War II. The 10 women profiled, all of whom were born in the mid- to late-1800s, shared a desire to learn, a taste for adventure, and a bravery that sustained them through dangerous situations. As in Women Daredevils (Dutton, 2008), Cummins masterfully including interesting details without making the portraits too complicated. Hints of marital problems or family issues help explain why these women were willing to venture out on their own, but the author keeps her child audience in mind. Most of the women are white Americans or Europeans but their travels were as far-ranging as Alaska, the South Pacific, the Andes, Russia, and China. Harness's watercolor paintings are outlined in black, giving the women pictured a sense of strength and determination. The illustrations capture the foreign backgrounds well and help delineate the explorers' travels. Informative and entertaining, this book is an excellent addition to most collections.--Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA

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