This series highlights four extraordinary women of the American Revolution-Martha Washington, Mercy Otis Warren, Phillis Wheatley, and Abigail Adams. Filled with color illustrations (contemporary engravings often misleadingly tinted for a newer market), maps, time lines, interesting factoids, and suggested readings, these titles might seem ideal for young people, perhaps designed especially for younger teen reluctant readers faced with selecting a biography for a school assignment. Relying completely on secondary sources, fictionalized biographies, and published correspondence, these books provide speculative and generally accurate portraits of remarkable women. Occasionally marred by sloppy editing, sentimentality, and jarringly colloquial language, the books will, no doubt, find a place in school and public libraries where curriculum-supporting biographies and Accelerated Reader titles flourish. (Signature Lives: Revolutionary War Period). VOYA CODES: 2Q 1P M J (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q; No YA will read unless forced to for assignments; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006, Compass Point Books, 112p.; Index. Illus. Maps. Biblio. Source Notes. Further Reading. Chronology., PLB . Ages 11 to 15.
Jamie S. Hansen
Gr 5-7-These titles introduce women who helped shape the nation. While they focus on the individuals, they occasionally oversimplify information. For example, Williams states that when Mason traveled with the Mormons and came across Native Americans, "The encounters were usually pleasant, and Mormon Trail diaries tell of friendly trading.-" The successes of the lone individual are often emphasized and pinpointed as a moment that started to influence all of history. In Warren, the woman's brother is given credit for planting "the seed of patriotism in America" and beginning the fight for freedom when he openly opposed British rule in the courtroom. Terms are not well defined within the texts or do not appear in the glossary. The time lines of each woman's life are attached to a chronology of world events at the end of the book. The juxtaposition of Mason moving to California in 1851 with postage stamps being widely used in 1852 fails to elicit a connection. The only electronic link mentioned is FactHound, which "will find the best Web sites for you." While it lists eight sites for each book, they aren't necessarily "the best" and don't empower readers to locate information on their own.-Kelly Czarnecki, Bloomington Public Library, IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.