Kiri's Reviews > Women Explorers

Women Explorers by Julie Cummins
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bookshelves: middle-grade

I really like the idea behind this book, but I'm not totally satisfied with its execution. The book provides brief profiles of ten female explorers whose expeditions range from the Arctic to Africa to the American West and more. The accompanying sketches are great. I found myself wishing for them to be augmented with real photographs (some of which are alluded to in the text). I was glad to learn about these women (mostly new to me), but kept waiting for the awe-inspiring Isabella Bird to show up (she doesn't). Of course, everyone might make different choices when forced to pick only ten people. I would have liked some discussion about how these ten were chosen (the author's brief note suggests a laudable desire to cover different parts of the world and to emphasize determination and fortitude).

Overall, though, I was a bit irritated by the continued trumpeting of how these women deviated from Victorian expectations (as if that were the only culture in the entire world in this time period) and the implicit perpetuation of those ideas ("she's no shrinking violet!" appears twice - ugh). This makes the book feel curiously out of sync with the modern world in which it was written. Entire cultures are summarized as "headhunters" or "cannibals". I get that it's aimed at kids, so some things are simplified, but this approach made me uncomfortable. Still, I enjoyed learning about these great women!
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Reading Progress

July 20, 2019 – Started Reading
July 20, 2019 – Finished Reading
July 21, 2019 – Shelved
July 21, 2019 – Shelved as: middle-grade

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