Published as part of the "We the People" series, which is devoted to presenting key historical events in U.S. history, the book opens with an introduction to American Indian women. The first profile is that of Sacagawea, the young Shoshone woman who led explorers Lewis and Clark to the Pacific Ocean. From there the book briefly introduces women of other nationalities who settled in the area, including Spanish women and Eastern settlers. It ends with a short description of women of today's west, such as Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Perhaps because of the constraints on the book to be short and fit into a series, the book is less detailed and comprehensive than one would like but it may whet the reader's appetite to learn more. Included are a short glossary and a chart of important dates, as well as a helpful bibliography for readers who want to read more about women of the west. 2001, Compass Point Books, $21.26. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Valerie O. Patterson
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-This overview covers the years from Sacagawea's participation in the Lewis and Clark Expedition to the turn of the last century. Addressing the lives and contributions of American Indian, Hispanic, Caucasian, and black women, the focus remains for the most part on traditional roles-home, church, and family. For example, American Indian women are portrayed as doing planting and harvesting, herding animals, raising children, creating artwork, cooking, and watching battles "-from a safe distance." Their political clout in tribal life is never mentioned. The section on Caucasian women shifts from drudging west, trying to keep their clothes clean and their toddlers out from under wagon wheels and oxen's hooves, to introducing a number of independent figures who gained the freedom to become doctors, sharpshooters, and miners, among other traditionally male roles. Period reproductions and photographs enhance the attractively laid out text, which has wide borders and large print. Unfortunately, in the last two chapters, pictures of specific women appear a page or two before they are identified in the text. The list of important people (two American Indian and four Caucasian women) seems oddly selected. However, the lists of further reading, Web sites, and institutional resources are sound, as is the one-page index. The author's own Extraordinary Women of the American West (Children's, 1999), though aimed at a slightly older audience, is a better source of information-detailed and interesting, and not torqued to fit series requirements.-Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Judy Alter is the author of nearly 30 books, both fiction and nonfiction. She is the director of a small university publishing division. She has four children – all grown – two cats, and a large dog. Her hobbies include cooking, reading, and gardening.