Reviews for Wild Women of the Wild West

Booklist Reviews 2011 December #1
What do an African American stagecoach driver, a Mexican casino owner, a Crow warrior, and a Wyoming judge have in common? They were all women of the Wild West, a period defined in this book's informative time line as between 1848 and 1898. Winter introduces 15 intriguing women who gained fame or notoriety, describing each one in a full-page biographical account. On the facing page, Guevara offers a large portrait of the woman in ink and watercolors, while one or more ink drawings on the double-page spread show her in action. The book is handsomely designed, and Winter and Guevara's verbal and visual portrayals offer intriguing views of their subjects. Calamity Jane, Belle Starr, and Annie Oakley may be familiar names, but others are just as colorful and significant. A lively addition to American history collections. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
Calamity Jane, Annie Oakley, and Belle Starr are three of the fifteen tough-minded Wild West women featured in this book. Winter is so unapologetically enthusiastic about his subjects that it's hard to find fault with occasional editorializing ("Calamity Jane reinvented what it was to be a woman"). Guevara's portraits are sure and unflinching, just like the women they depict. Timeline. Bib.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 September #2

A good idea by a fine author and illustrator goes somewhat awry in this middle-grade collective biography of 15 women of the Old West.

Winter gets in trouble right away with the introduction, in which he tries and fails to define the Wild West, with sentences like "There weren't too many women in the Wild West, so the few who were there had to be really wild to compete with all those raucous men." The women chosen are fascinating and often little known: the formerly enslaved Mary Fields, who drove a stagecoach for the U.S. Postal Service and was just its second woman employee; Lola Montez and Lotta Crabtree, wildly popular Gold Rush entertainers; and The-Other-Magpie, a Crow woman warrior. Though no doubt intended to be rollicking and engaging, the prose instead often seems patronizing or flip. Is it important that both Esther Morris, Wyoming suffragist and judge, and Carry Nation, anti-alcohol crusader, were both six feet tall and about 180 pounds? The biography of Santa Fe casino owner "La Tules" ends by saying that Mexico "continues to bring us Mexicans." Guevara notes that all but two of the sepia-and-black–accented watercolor portraits were taken directly from photographs of their subjects.

Young researchers eager to know more about outlaw Belle Starr and adventurer and philanthropist Nellie Cashman might start here, but they will have to move on to more reliable sources. (timeline, map) (Collective biography. 9-12)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 November #1

Winter and Guevara offer 16 portraits--his in lively, straight-shooting prose; hers in stoic watercolor-and-ink--of women who made their names in the lawless years of the Wild West. From familiar figures like Calamity Jane and outlaw Belle Starr ("She looked and acted like a queen--even though she was mainly just a horse thief") to less well-known women like reporter Polly Pry and Crow warrior The-Other-Magpie, the book's subjects are varied, fascinating, and, as Winter puts it, "some of the bravest people in the world." Girls looking for new historical heroes will find some great options in these pages. Ages 7-10. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 November

Gr 3-6--Women were scarce in the Wild West, and the few who were there had to be tough. This book introduces 16 figures who made their mark between the California Gold Rush and the end of the 19th century. Some of them, like Belle Starr, were on the wrong side of the law, while others, like Mary Ellen Pleasant, were successful in business. Others were performers, reporters, stagecoach drivers, preachers, or adventurers. Winter includes stories about Native Americans, ex-slaves, and women of Hispanic heritage. Each page-long biographical sketch is written in a delightful colloquial style that gives the text verve and sparkle. Each biography is accompanied by a full-page, watercolor and ink portrait of the subject. All are based on historical photos and show the women as strong and powerful. The back endpapers feature a helpful map of the region. Holly George-Warren's The Cowgirl Way (Houghton Harcourt, 2010) highlights some of the same women, but is not as entertaining. Teachers will be eager to add this title to their American history curriculum, and children will take to it, not because of its educational value, but because it is fun to read.--Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT

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