Concise biographies introduce young readers to influential men and women in various disciplines. Each entry includes personal information as well as a succinct run-down of notable career moments, major works, or contributions to the field. Entries are straightforward, factual, and briefabout two to four pages. The volumes include personalities from many areas within each discipline; entries are arranged chronologically, and many international figures are included. The Scientists volume ranges from Hippocrates to Stephen Hawking, Sir Isaac Newton to Margaret Mead. Notable contributors in medicine, botany, physics, psychology, astronomy, anthropology, and archaeology are also included. This is an excellent series full of reliable information and useful for quick reference, brief introductory biographies, or an overview of each larger subject area. Other volumes in this series cover influential philosophers, painters and sculptors, writers, inventors, women, and world leaders. YA readers will find these books a good starting place but will need to move on to other sources for greater detail. More illustrations and more extensive further reading lists would have made this series even better. Reviewer: Tina Frolund
Gr 9 Up–This ambitious series corrals world history’s major doers and thinkers whose work challenges and inspires people consistently, or incites change or reform on a large scale. People of many races and nationalities are represented. Careful wording bridges one chronologically arranged article to the next, enhancing the idea that one person’s work builds on an earlier individual’s accomplishments. The style of writing varies some from article to article. Some pieces are written in an accessible, straightforward style, while others are convoluted. Painters and Sculptors states, for example, that “…the complex culture of late Medicean Florence, which was simultaneously infused with the romantic sentiment of courtly love and with the humanist interest for Classical antiquity and its vanished artistic traditions, employed these mythological figures more fully and in more correctly antiquarian fashion.” That aside, this series is a goldmine. A few black-and-white illustrations appear throughout.