Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (and What the Neighbors Thought)

Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (and What the Neighbors Thought)

4.5 6
by Kathleen Krull

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From Cleopatra to Eva Peron, Lives of Extraordinary Women celebrates the lives of strong and unforgettable heroines. Details about their personal lives and goals, in addition to their often controversial lifestyles add to this book's charm.See more details below


From Cleopatra to Eva Peron, Lives of Extraordinary Women celebrates the lives of strong and unforgettable heroines. Details about their personal lives and goals, in addition to their often controversial lifestyles add to this book's charm.

Editorial Reviews

Following the same format as in their earlier books, Lives of the Musicians (Harcourt, 1993) and Lives of the Presidents (1998) among others, Krull and Hewitt present capsulated information about twenty women in three- to five-page life summaries. As Krull says in her introduction, "Not all of these women are role models," but instead they were chosen because they "wielded significant political power." This interesting group teams Joan of Arc and Eleanor Roosevelt with Marie Antoinette and Eva Peron. Although some of the choices, such as Harriet Tubman, seem to stretch Krull's criteria for inclusion, all of them make for lively reading. The subjects range from Cleopatra in ancient Egypt to contemporary activists Wilma Mankiller, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Rigoberta Menchu. Krull is careful to remain objective when reporting details that might be deemed less than admirable by today's standards, such as Cleopatra's fratricide or Catherine the Great's affairs, or alleged abuses of power by various leaders. Hewitt's whimsical illustrations provide a lighthearted touch, as seen in the picture on the back cover of the Russian empress Catherine, holding a sign reading, "I Am Great." Because these short summaries necessarily require oversimplification of some events, this book will appeal more to browsers than report writers. Illus. Further Reading. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, Harcourt, 94p, Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Karen Herc SOURCE: VOYA, June 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 2)
Children's Literature
Noted biographer Kathleen Krull celebrates our foremothers, those feisty women who helped shape the world. Krull brings her trademark wit and insight to descriptions of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Harriet Tubman, and seventeen others in Lives of Extraordinary Women. Kathryn Hewitt contributes playful watercolor portraits. 2000, Harcourt, $20.00. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum
A terrific gift for a young girl, this wonderfully-illustrated book brings history alive in a fascinating way that will delight readers. Featuring women as diverse as Joan of Arc and Harriet Tubman, these biographies encourage readers to travel through the ages and around the world. Highly recommended. 2000, Harcourt Brace & Company, $20.00. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: A. Braga SOURCE: Parent Council Volume 8
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-As with other titles in this nicely thought-out series, Krull whets readers' appetites with brief biographies of some amazing individuals. Most of these women will be familiar to students, but a few obscure figures are introduced. The writing tends toward gossip in places. (Isabella I of Spain reportedly took only two baths in her lifetime.) Like gossip, each chapter is enticing. A full-page caricature of the subject opens each chapter. The stories are arranged chronologically, beginning with Cleopatra, who reportedly spoke eight languages, and concluding with Guatemalan leader Rigoberta Mench , who fights for native Indian rights. "Ever After" sections reveal aftereffects of each person's contribution to history. The gaps left by the absence of Margaret Thatcher and Benazir Bhutto are filled by the more obscure likes of Nzingha, Gertrude Bell, and Aung San Suu Kyi. Don Nardo's Women Leaders of Nations (Lucent, 1998) aptly complements Extraordinary Women. The jacket art offers evidence of the fun inside-Queen Victoria looks not amusedly at Marie Antoinette toying with her riches. Catherine holds an "I AM GREAT" sign. Joan of Arc chats with Eleanor of Aquitaine. And Cleopatra walks like an Egyptian. A captivating browsers' delight and a jumping-off point for report writers.-Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Childrens Book Watch
In Lives Of Extraordinary Women, Kathleen Krull focuses on twenty women down through history who have held political power and influence. These biographical pieces showcase queens, warriors, prime ministers, first ladies, and revolutionary leaders. Some are notorious, others revered, and all were noteworthy women who succeeded in making their way through a male dominated. Enthusiastically recommended for school and community library collections, Lives Of Extraordinary Women's informative and engaging text is wonderfully illustrated throughout with the artistic talents of Kathryn Hewitt.
—Childrens Book Watch
Ruth Coughlin
They have done it again. Kathleen Krull and Kathryn Hewitt, the team that has brought us five previous books in the Lives of . . . series, now turn their estimable talents to discussing 20 celebrated and/or notorious women, ranging in chronological order from Cleopatra to Harriet Tubman to Rigoberta Menchu, the Guatemalan who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992... Both artful and witty, the illustrations provide perfect accompaniments to the often breezy and accessible text.
New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
"Well-behaved women rarely make history" is the pendant to this collection of 20 brief biographies in what is now the masterly style of this dynamite team's previous "Lives of . . ." books. Krull packs an astonishing amount of information in three to five pages of biography for these female rulers, smoothly tucking in interesting bits: the English most outraged at Joan of Arc's wearing men's clothing; Catherine the Great's fondness for intellectual young men; Nzingha the West African queen's miraculous escapes up to the age of 82. She clearly defines when historical gossip might have skewed the real story, as with Marie Antoinette and the Chinese empress Tz'u-hsi, but doesn't shrink from sometimes unpleasant truths such as Gertrude Bell's suicide or Indira Gandhi's assassination. Hewitt's illustrations remain dazzling: the oversized heads of the full-page figures sport headgear eminently suitable: Jeannette Rankin wears the Capitol dome and Aung San Suu Kyi her trademark flowers. Artifacts related to the women's stories appear as incidental images. Fabulous reading, great for research, deliciously and subversively feminist, this will sit happily on the shelf with the presidents, artists, musicians, and others this duo has covered so well. (bibliography) (Biography. 8-12)

From the Publisher
"A captivating browsers’ delight."—School Library Journal

• "Fabulous reading, great for research, deliciously . . . feminist."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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Product Details

Audio Bookshelf
Publication date:
Lives of... Series
Edition description:
Unabridged, 2 CDs
Product dimensions:
6.66(w) x 6.34(h) x 1.02(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Kathleen Krull is well known for her innovative, award-winning nonfiction for young readers. She is a book reviewer and former children's book editor. Ms. Krull lives in San Diego, California.

Kathryn Hewitt illustrated the previous books in the Lives of the...series, as well as popular picture books for younger readers. She lives in Santa Monica, California.

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