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The Big, Bold, Adventurous Life of Lavinia Warren

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3.93  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Lavinia Warren never let her height—or the lack of it—prevent her from leading a full and adventurous life. Although she never grew more than three feet tall, she became a beloved teacher, a world traveler, an entertainer and the friend of many powerful figures. Lavinia was teaching at a local school when she heard about an opportunity to travel doing shows as a “human cur ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Chicago Review Press (first published September 1st 2018)
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Heidi
Lavinia Warren spent years of her life traveling the world. When she was born in 1841, that is not what her parents envisioned for her. But when she stopped growing at a young age, and remained short her whole life because of dwarfism, things started to look different. Her size never stopped her from playing pranks, becoming a teacher, and learning to take care of herself. After spending a year on a riverboat starring in various shows, she returned home as the Civil War broke out. Meeting P.T. B ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus



In the mid-1800s, there were not a lot of life choices for women. Lavinia Warren, nee' Mercy Bump, might have had even fewer options due to her extremely short stature, but instead she successfully completed a year of elementary school teaching after graduating herself. Then, a cousin who was also a promoter of curiosities offered her an unusual opportunity-- come work on his floating museum and travel the world. Accepting this job meant that Lavinia was in a position th
...more
Mrs. Mazzola
I had never heard of Lavinia Warren prior to reading this and her story was interesting and the period details were fascinating. However, it was a little slow to start, which made it hard for me to finish. And because much of the information is taken from her own autobiography/journal, it has a problematic view about circus/sideshow performers that could have used some explanation in a place like the author's note.
Autumn
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun, accessible and sensitive bio of Lavinia Warren, aka Mercy Bump. Lots of great photos, and not 'inspiration porn' in the least. Bound to be a kid pleaser!
Barbara
This one is a 3.5 for me. I'd never heard of Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump before reading this biography, but I'm glad that I had the chance to rectify that. A proportionate dwarf born in 1841 in small Middleborough, Massachusetts, Lavinia was much smaller than all the other members of her family except one younger sister. Despite her lack of height, she became a teacher, and then later, her diminutive stature made her curiosity that allowed her to broker a career as a showboat entertainer, and a be ...more
Kim Tyo-Dickerson
Fascinating biography for young readers of adventurer Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump, a little person who performed all over the world with the support of P.T. Barnum, married Tom Thumb in an extravagant nineteenth-century wedding (see contemporary report via the Civil War Harper's Weekly newspaper facsimile from February 21, 1863), met Queen Victoria and Abraham Lincoln and generally managed her fame, and resulting wealth and luxurious lifestyle as a result of her size and ability to perform through ...more
Jeannie
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-3-6, 2020-6-8
Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump aka Lavinia Warren had a most unusual life. She was a dwarf who was not held back by her size. Her very supportive family raised to be as self sufficient as she could be. Lavinia taught school to normal size children when she was 16, earning the respect of her community. When her cousin, an entrepreneur, asked her to perform on his river boat, she accepted the adventure. This brought her to the attention of P. T. Barnum, the famous showman. Barnum introduced her to Char ...more
Kris Dersch
Super interesting topic and very accessible to middle grade readers. It is a little all over the place. Sometimes I like that...the historical sidebars are great...and sometimes it's distracting. The tacked on additional chapter at the end about Tom Thumb weddings seemed unnecessary and the comment that girls tend to like them more than boys was cringe-worthy. I feel like this author maybe went down a Tom Thumb wedding rabbit hole and then wasn't sure how to cut it. Overall, the back matter was ...more
Apriel
Totally missed where it said that this was a middle grade book otherwise I think I would have given it a pass and read something else. Not that it’s a bad book because it isn’t. It just isn’t the in-depth biography I wanted. If you’ve read anything about PT Barnum or about “freak” shows that mention Lavinia Warren then you will probably already be familiar with the facts presented in this book. Very little was new to me at this point.
Natalie
Feb 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Well-written, but problematic in its treatment of sideshows /circuses/disabled people in the 19th century. The use of primarily an autobiography that was undoubtedly highly edited and perhaps not totally reflective is problematic.
S.E.
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: life-in-leaf
A fascinating journey into the life of a truly spunky woman. I couldn't believe how much courage Lavinia had to explore the world; she never let her diminutive stature limit her from doing what she wanted. Once I started this book, I couldn't put it down!
Alice
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really interesting
Kathy
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a broad history of the time period! Kids will definitely enjoy this story.
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Oct 16, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2018-new
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As a child, I loved writing reports. For me, doing research has always been a kind of treasure hunt. My treasures are the facts that create pictures of past worlds and faraway places. I've put those facts into nearly 100 biographies, histories, and science books for young readers. I've also written two picture books and several interactive adventures that place you, the reader, inside the story. I ...more

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