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Daredevil: The Daring Life of Betty Skelton
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Daredevil: The Daring Life of Betty Skelton

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  497 ratings  ·  79 reviews
A riveting picture book biography of Betty Skelton, aviation and auto racing pioneer, from award-winning author/illustrator Megan McCarthy.

In the 1930s most girls were happy playing with dolls. But one girl, Betty Skelton, liked playing with airplanes, watching them fly around outside, and even flying airplanes herself! She lived for an adventure—in the air, the water, and
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Simon Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
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Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Betty Skelton makes me want to say, "You go, girl!" Her dad (questionable parenting or no? I'm undecided) let her fly her first solo flight at age 12. She got her official pilot license at age 16, which was incredibly rare for someone in the 1930s, obviously. She felt the need for speed in other mediums too, conquering racecars when they hit the market, setting some world records for waterskiing (but she couldn't swim... parenting thing again? or just fearless!?) and even took some tests to be t ...more
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Betty Skelton learned to fly her father’s airplane when she was only twelve years old. Bright, acrylic illustrations draw the reader through Betty’s life. Betty wanted to be a commercial pilot when she grew up, but women weren’t allowed to do that, so she became a stunt pilot instead. Later, she raced cars and jumped over boats on water skis. She even trained to go into outer space, but women weren’t allowed to be astronauts back then. Through her daring and dreams, Betty made it easier for othe ...more
Jaimee Huskins
Nov 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This children s book written about Betty Skelton is just absolutely amazing. I didn't know anything about Betty or her life but once I started to read it I fell in love how amazing she was and how she helped lead the way of women can do anything men can. It is a good book to read to children to teach them that not to long ago women were not allowed to do all the things. The story is interesting and engaging and easy to follow. The pictures are brightly colored. The inside book flap has a brief a ...more
Kris Patrick
So get this! Betty Skelton trains with the astronaut crew for Mercury 7, and then right before takeoff NASA says, nah!! We're not ready to send a woman into space. What a bunch of jerks!

Love the photo and list of Betty Quotes in the back matter.
"Aerobats are murder on one's hairdo!"

I like Mccarthy's work. I will add her to my list of nonfiction mentor authors.
Jennifer Rummel
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved it, a great introduction to her life.
Colby Sharp
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, biographical
I"m glad that I live in a world where my six YO cannot understand why women wouldn't be treated equally. We really enjoyed reading this book together.
Liza Nahas
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great "brave girl" story! Though it's told in a simple manner, the story packs a lot of information.
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great read. I had never heard of her, but what an inspiring story.
Esmeralda Guerrero
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Summary: This book is a non fiction biography about the life of Betty Skelton. This book tells the adventures that Betty went through beginning in her childhood years all the way to her adult years. It also tells the daring actions she took during her era to prove to the world that girls can do anything boys can do. This included flying planes, boats, and race cars.
Evaluation: Although this is a non fiction book, it is written in such a way that kids will be able to understand it. It uses every
Kelly Mendieta
Summary: This book is a non fiction biography about the life of Betty Skelton. This book tells the adventures that Betty went through beginning in her childhood years all the way to her adult years. It also tells the daring actions she took during her era to prove to the world that girls can do anything boys can do. This included flying planes, boats, and race cars.
Evaluation: Although this is a non fiction book, it is written in such a way that kids will be able to understand it. It uses every
Cierra Cappon
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a book about a daredevil girl! She wants to do things that people tell her she can't. Like fly a plane or go to space. She tests and pushes boundaries to do what she wanted. This is an inspiring story for anyone to read, but especially a young girl trying to escape from society's rules.

This book is a child- friendly book, meaning it was written just for kids. There are many words on the page and the illustrations take over the entire page. The illustrations are detaile
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had never heard of Betty Skelton until including this book in a Women's History Month study for my younger elementary students. As I read this to my kindergarten students today, they were so engrossed in all the things that Betty accomplished in her life! They were so excited to find out that so many records were set by Betty in a variety of fields! Very interesting read for adults and kids alike!
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s, history
Betty June Skelton, lived for adventure, and became a woman of many firsts. She set many records, in the air, on land, and on the water. This book tells the story of Betty, and her daredevil lifestyle, and how she left her mark on history and paved the way for women to leave their mark as well.
Maria Freeman
May 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nibling
First Line:
"While most girls did x, Betty did y" -> Don't like this because it sounds as if y>x and judgemental, while activity y is perhaps more unusual than x, that does not mean one is better or worse than the other.

Incredible women, annoying tone to the book
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had never heard of Betty Skelton before, but my students (3-5) and I are enjoying this book. Is there anything she couldn't do well? Inspiring read.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had no idea the contributions of Betty Skelton. She did all kinds of cool stuff for women. Book font and style similar to the book about Chester Greenwood who invented earmuffs.
Meghan Collins
Daredevil is about the life of Betty Skelton. I honestly have never heard of her, so I was interested in reading this book. Betty was known as the "First of the Firsts" and for many reason. This book walks the reader through her first time flying, her first time racing, and doing aerodynamics, and even be considered for space travel. Because of her, she set the standard for women to fly, drive and go into space.

I liked this book because it tells a story, and doesn't resemble a typical nonfictio
Holly Mueller
I loved the story of Betty Skelton. She was amazing and inspiring - full of adventure and grit! She not only earned her private pilot's license at the age of sixteen, but she became a flight instructor, joined the Civil Air Patrol, had a career as an aerobat, set world speed and altitude records for aircraft, was the first woman to drive an Indy Car, set auto speed records, trained with the Mercury 7 astronauts, and was the first woman to be inducted into the International Aerobatic Hall of Fame ...more
Syndi Flores
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book to read to any child that has really big dreams. This story in about Betty Skelton, the 1st women to fly a plane, break a racing record and become the 1st female boat jumper. This story talks about the life of Betty Skelton and her achievements in her life. Although she didn't become the first woman in space, she did prove that women could do the same things as men. The last page of this book is more facts about Betty and a Time line of her life and the last thing on it is t ...more
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
With cute buggy eyes and a charming smile, Betty Skelton is presented as a daredevil woman stuck in an era that didn't allow women to really be daredevils. Skelton was fascinated with flying and driving fast cars and though she had skills and interest, neither the Navy nor commercial airlines were interested in having a woman fly for them. Eventually her passion and talents were recognized and she trained with the Mercury 7. Though Skelton never traveled to space, she broke barriers with her tra ...more
Clearly, Betty Skelton, born in 1926, was ahead of her times, but that didn't stop her from dreaming big dreams and reaching as high as she could. Thanks in part to the support of her parents, Betty learned to fly a plane in an era when women pilots were just about unheard of. She made her first solo flight at 12 and her private pilot's license at 16. When she was unable to fly commercially, she turned to stunt flying. Later, after a racecar driving career, she came close to joining the Mercury ...more
Things have changed a lot since I was a little girl in the 50’s, and even more since my mother was a little girl in the early 30’s. Part of those changes have to do with women like Betty Skelton, who, according to this wonderful picture book for young children, flew her first solo at age 12. Officially, she got her license at 16, but her dad let her take off secretly at 12! That was just the beginning. She was not allowed to be a pilot, either in the military or as a commercial pilot, because sh ...more
A fascinating picture book biography about a woman who conquered the land, the sea, and the skies in a time period in which only men were pursuing those interests.

The author does a great job of inciting interest in the subject, but I was a little distracted by the writing style; it was jumpy and abrupt and glossed over the injustice Betty was dealt when she trained for space travel.

Back matter includes fun facts, quotes, a time line, and a selected bibliography.

Acrylic illustrations were okay. I
Sep 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
A fun, lightheartd look at a famous early woman pilot, who not only was a skilled aerobatic pilot (known for the "inverted ribbon cut" where she'd fly upside down and cut a ribbon with her propeller!), but then in the 1950's became a test car driver (setting a speed record!), a boat jumper, and went on to train with the Mercury Seven astronauts! NASA wasn't ready for a woman astronaut in the end, but she had proven that a woman could handle the training, and paved the way for Valentina Tereshkov ...more
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book was okay, not bad but not great. While I know that we need more biographies about famous women, this book did not really engage me because Betty Skelton's life did not seem real. It felt a little bit like an action adventure movie, first she flies, does daring aerial stunts, then she speeds around in racecars, then she does the same daring feats in motor boats, before finally settling in the astronaut program. And why did the author include the fact she flew with bare feet? Of course s ...more
Elissa Schaeffer
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Where has Betty been all my life? This is exactly the sort of biography I would have enjoyed in elementary school. I expect it will be the sort of biography my patrons will enjoy, too!

Betty is far ahead of her time. She does things that no woman has done before and she makes it look easy. With quotes directly from Betty, fun illustrations, and LOTS of information on Betty's life in the back, this is a fun read.

Each year, the local primary school does an elective biography course. Too often, girl
Amy Lafleur Meyers
Megan McCarthy's signature cartoonish illustrations show how Betty Skelton became fascinated with flying from when she was a little girl. She flew solo at sixteen and wanted to make it her career. Skelton wanted to be a commercial pilot but only men could be them and so she decided to become a stunt pilot! When Skelton many years later retired from flying, one would think that she'd want to settle down, but not Skelton. She became a race car driver! Betty Skelton's accomplishments kept coming an ...more
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Daredevil is a wonderful book that teaches kids a couple of key points in a fun way:
1) It really is possible to know what you are passionate about as early as the age of 8.

2) Sometimes, when you are a kid, you have to take the initiative to explore beyond your initial passion. You cannot always wait for your parents to embrace your passion.

3) There are times when you might really work hard at something, believe it will happen, and then it doesn't pan out the way you think it will. You cannot le
Nashiea Edmiston
I can see why this was chosen as the 2015-2016 Young Hoosier Book Award winner, props to Meghan McCarthy for a beautifully illustrated and well-written book about Betty Skelton, female daredevil who pushed the limits and didn't let anything stop her spirit, even when everyone said no. Children will love the authors story-telling style, sitting here reading her book, I felt as though someone was passing down a cherished story, with quotes from Betty along the way, making it even more enriching an ...more
Jo Oehrlein
Feb 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
So frustrating to read the times that people told her she couldn't because she was a girl. There was one person who wouldn't even sell her an airplane because she was a girl.

Good example of trusting yourself and not listening to naysayers.
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Children's book author of many wonderful fiction and nonfiction books for young readers, including the below following. Meghan's books have won the IRA-CBC Children's Choice, ALA Notable, Kirkus Reviews Reviewer's Choice, Booklist Best Books, NYPL 100 Best Books, SLJ Best Books, and so on. Blah blah blah, what Meghan really wants to do is drive really fast and jump in really long grass until she g ...more