Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bad Girls or Sad Girls? You Be the Judge! by Pragmatic Mom

Bad girls
Talking about the sad girls
Sad girls
Talking about bad girls, yeah

You ask yourself who they are
Like everybody else, they come from near and far

Bad Girls by Donna Summer ... Toot Toot, Beep, Toot Toot!



Sirens, jezebels, murderesses, thieves, and other female villains. Who are they?

Bad Girls, Talkin' about the Sad Girls

Well, they're all here in Bad Girls by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, illustrated by Rebecca Guay.


Jane Yolen teams up with her daughter, Heidi, to pull together all the women in history with a bad rap. It's a book with an unusual format: short stories for each bad girl starting with Delilah from the Bible with a graphic novel "weighing in" page hosting by Jane and Heidi acting as judge and jury. There is a full-page illustration introducing each bad girl as well.


Mata Hari
Mata Hari


Mata Hari
Mata Hari


Some of the more famous bad girls are household names: Jezebel, Cleopatra, Bloody Mary, Lizzie Borden, Bonnie of Bonnie and Clyde, Typhoid Mary, and Mata Hari. Good marketing or were they just very, very bad? You be the judge.

Virginia Hill
Virgina Hill

Strengths: The paper in the hardcover is sumptuous. Extremely thick and glossy. I actually had to check as I turned each page that it was just a single page and not two stuck together, the paper is that thick! I liked the wide range of bad girls. Yolen and Stemple did a thorough job rounding up all the ladies with a bad rap, and their stories are told in short biography form. This is a nice format for reluctant girl readers. The graphic novel page is also a nice break from all the pages of text.

Bonnie Parker, Bonnie and Clyde
Bonnie Parker of infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo

Weaknesses: I wished there was more meat to the mother/daughter dialogue. Either a fact should have been withheld and revealed in this piece or perhaps the graphic novel portion should have been the Bad Girl herself telling her side of the story. That would have been fun. I would have loved to seen actual clippings, photos or portraits of the ladies as well. Especially the ones famed for their beauty. A collage format with old newspaper headlines would have been fun!



Images of Mata Hari from Swung Over.

Image of Virginia Hill from TruTV.

Pragmatic Mom, PragmaticMom, Pragmatic Mom BlogMia Wenjen blogs excessively on children's books, education and parenting at PragmaticMom. She has 3 kids, a husband and a dog. Only the dog listens to her.


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