Powerful women may be given short shrift in history books, but the world’s folklore is filled with tales of their heroic exploits. Durga the Demon-Slayer, Al-Datma of Egypt, and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, are just a few of the legendary women who leapt over limits and fought to win. Their stories and others are told in Amazons! Collected from all over the world, these exciting tales feature women warriors who kill dragons, travel to the Northern Lights, slay demons, and learn that warrior skills are ...
Powerful women may be given short shrift in history books, but the world’s folklore is filled with tales of their heroic exploits. Durga the Demon-Slayer, Al-Datma of Egypt, and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, are just a few of the legendary women who leapt over limits and fought to win. Their stories and others are told in Amazons! Collected from all over the world, these exciting tales feature women warriors who kill dragons, travel to the Northern Lights, slay demons, and learn that warrior skills are worthless without love. Compellingly related by acclaimed storyteller Sally Pomme Clayton, these tales demonstrate that being an Amazon isn’t so much about physical strength as it is about courage, skill, imagination, and kindness. Sophie Herxheimer’s vibrant artwork is the perfect match for these soul-stirring stories, and her illustrations reflect the variegated cultures represented in these here. Action pages offer ideas and advice on how to become a 21st-century Amazon.
Although Amazons were often believed to be fictitious, this book looks into the concept of Amazons. The first chapter focuses on the well-known race of women warriors in Greece, particularly in the story of Hercules' labor to retrieve the belt of the Amazon Queen Hippolyta. From Greece, the reader then travels to read of other worthy women warriors like the Dragon Girl from China, a Native American girl trying to win eagle feathers, the Durga demon slayer in India, the Siberian maiden knight and the Northern Lights, the tale of the brave servant that saved British travelers from the "hand of glory," and lastly about an Egyptian warrior princess. An interesting feature of this book is the activity page at the conclusion of each story. Activities vary from facts to guide thinking, mazes, surveys, and crafts. Illustrations are very colorful and are representative of the culture depicted in each myth. The stories seem to beg an answer to the question: do you have what it takes to be an Amazon, too? Reviewer: K. Meghan Robertson
School Library Journal
Gr 3–7—This handsome collection of folktales showcases seven empowering females, each with her own unique strengths and abilities. Clayton describes Hippolyta's fatal encounter with Hercules in "Queen of the Amazons," powering the plot with dramatic touches and putting a clever twist on the traditional tale's climax. In a Siberian tale, a maiden straps on her dead brother's dagger and bravely rides off to find the Northern Lights ("twelve shining girls, each lit with a different coloured light") to convince them to restore his life. Other selections feature a Chinese girl who conquers a hungry seven-headed dragon, a Sioux heroine determined to count coup, a demon-slaying goddess from India, an English serving girl who outwits an evil bandit, and a Middle Eastern warrior princess who refuses to marry until she finds an equal. Filled with lively language and fast-paced action, the tales introduce a pleasing range of characters and moods. An author's note and sources are appended. The illustrations employ swirling lines and vibrant color washes to reflect the setting and tone of each tale. The stories are separated by two-page interludes that provide brief facts or activities. Shared aloud or read independently, this upbeat book can stir up interest in courageous women and inspire modern-day heroines.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
An unfortunate mishmash of trivialized folktale, cutesy self-help and earnest advice. The author and illustrator take "Amazons" as a descriptor for heroic warrior-women from several cultures, and their methodology for encouraging girls to be Amazons includes such deep thoughts as "dare to dream" and "listen to your heart." The tales, which include "Queen of the Amazons," "Dragon Girl" (from China) "Durga Demon-Slayer" and "Hand of Glory" (from England), are written in a breezy style ("Captain Hercules"?) very much at odds with the blood, thunder and mystery of the stories. A page on making "Amazon accessories" includes such tidbits as, "customize a belt using a glue-gun, glitter and sequins." An "Amazon spell" based, it says, on a sixth-century hymn to Durga, is on a page of (unidentified) yoga poses. Herxheimer's illustrations are indeed dramatic and colorful, reveling in the gore of cutting off seven dragon heads as well as the jewels of the Egyptian warrior-princess Al-Datma. The tales are potent, but the package is not. (notes on stories, bibliography, glossary) (Folktales. 7-10)