by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, Illustrated by Rebecca Guay
This non-fiction text gives a brief overview of 26 of history's "Bad Girls". From Cleopatra to Bloody Mary and Bonnie Parker, these women have been vilified by history for murder, robbery or simply consorting with others accused of these crimes.
Yolen and her daughter have given each bad girl a few pages to briefly recount their story and then their illustrator Rebecca Guay concludes each chapter with a comic page of Yolen and Stemple casting doubt on the baddess of the particular girl.
Acknowledging that each story has two sides (maybe more) is important when looking at history. One of their main points is that if wars had ended with different victors, supposed traitors and spies might be considered heroes.
This is a perfect work for those looking to get a little information about a lot of women--perhaps those getting background before starting more intensive research. The facts presented tell a story, but not as complete as this history-lover would have enjoyed. I also was surprised not to read about Eleanor of the Aquitaine--now she was a "bad girl". I was also frustrated by the gap from Salome (14-71 CE) to Anne Boleyn in the 1500s. I know the Middle Ages were the Dark Ages, but that really was too big of a gap, and its my favorite time period too!
This would be a good book to work with in a history classroom. Reading a chapter every so often and learning to debate both sides of the story and seek the truth. This is definitely a good starting point for a research project as well.