cover image Sisters in Strength

Sisters in Strength

Yona Zeldis McDonough. Henry Holt & Company, $17.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-6102-4

McDonough (Eve and Her Sisters: Women of the Old Testament) shines the spotlight on 11 examples of girl power in this picture-book history volume. The life and key achievements of such influential figures as Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, Amelia Earhart and Margaret Mead are distilled into brief profiles that include some little-known facts and quotes from historical resources. Unfortunately, McDonough's uneven writing style and emphasis often give these respected women short shrift. The truncated, sketchy biographies contain too little information to serve as solid reference, and some passages are confusing. (For example, it's unclear that Minty and Harriet Tubman are the same person, and the number of Margaret Mead's husbands stands out more than her accomplishments.) Further detracting from the reading experience, the text and art make an uneasy pairing. Zeldis's full-page, folk-art-inspired portraits, rendered in bright acrylics, appear bulky and mask-like, creating a jarring contrast to the revered, very human subjects. For those eager to read more about these famous figures, a time line and bibliography are included. Ages 6-10. (Mar.)