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Thursday, January 05, 2017

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World by Kate Pankhurst. Sydney: Bloomsbury, 2016.

From Coco Chanel to Rosa Parks, Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World is bursting full of astounding facts and incredible artwork on some of the most brilliant women who helped shape the world we live in.
Kate Pankhurst, descendent of Emmeline Pankhurst, has created this wildy wonderful and accessible book about women who really changed the world.

Discover fascinating facts about some of the most amazing women who changed the world we live in. Fly through the sky with the incredible explorer Amelia Earhart, and read all about the Wonderful Adventures of Mary Seacole with this fantastic full colour book.  (Publisher's blurb from Allen and Unwin website.)

I did wonder when I read this book if the author-illustrator was any relation to the suffragette Pankhursts. Nice to know that their descendant is now able to do stuff like writing about women's achievements. Her other children's books are fiction.

The author has chosen a good variety of women who did different things. Of course, her ancestor is in there, but she is only one entry in a variety. There is also swimmer Gertrude Ederle, who swam the English Channel at a time when women just didn't do that. There's Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, with an easy-to-follow explanation of what was behind those colourful paintings. There's Mary Anning, a young girl who grew up in the Regency era, finding and collecting fossils. The family did it for a living, in their home at Lyme Regis, to sell to tourists, but when she made some major finds, they called in the scientists. It was fourteen year old Mary who discovered the ichthyosaur. As a young woman she discovered the plesiosaur. I had heard of her, but only briefly on a radio show on the ABC. I must look up more. 

Mary Seacole gets a page too. This nurse set up her own hospital in the Crimea during the Crimean War, because as a black woman she had been turned down as an official nurse(Florence Nightingale - remember? Although as I recall, she did say Florence Nightingale was quite helpful to her once she got there). Probably just as well, because she treated the wounded men of both sides of the conflict.

It's a charming book which can set children off in all directions, to find out more, and might make little girls feel better about themselves. The artwork is delightfully whimsical and suits the text perfectly.

Should suit girls from about seven upwards, or can be read to younger ones. There is a useful glossary at the back, to explain hard words. Not enough books have that these days!

Buy it at any good bookshop or online retailer!

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