Monday, September 9, 2013

Book Review: Bad Girls by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple

Despite the fact that I feel like my public library has this egregiously mis-cataloged, I cannot stop raving about this book.  It's a combination graphic novel, biographical profile of "Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, & Other Female Villains".  The authors are a mother/daughter team, and they spend five or so pages profiling each bad girl, followed by a graphic novel representation of their research.  My library has it cataloged and shelved as adult non-fiction, but it's really intended for a middle grate audience.  However, I have to say that in this case, I'm glad, because I don't usually browse the middle grade section and would have totally missed it had it not been shelved with adult non-fiction.

I have a confession to make here, Reader Friends.  I did not pay any attention to the author's use of citations or research background for this book.  Horrifying, I know.  Usually I am on top of issues relating to citation and showing your sources, but for some reason I just completely forgot to note the author's research documentation.  It may be because the book reads so intriguingly or because it is geared towards a younger audience.  I feel like both of those things have positive implications for the writing of the book itself - I was too distracted by the "story" feeling of the book to be looking for citations and the book is perfectly readable for a younger (and older) audience.

Entertainment Value
Such a fun read.  I think the shortness of the bios, paired with the larger font and the graphic inclusions at the end of each chapter will appeal to middle grade readers as well as adults.  It's such a fun way to get that age interested in history.  I really like the concept and thought it was carried out well.  I'm not sure that I'd recommend it for academic research, even for the younger set, but I think it would make a great addition to a classroom or library and makes an excellent title for getting kids (or adults) interested in history and biography.

I highly recommend it.  If I had a middle grader, I'd definitely buy a copy.  I think the idea is original and fun and the concept is pulled of nicely both visually and in terms of subject matter.

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