NONFICTION

The Book of Queens: Legendary Leaders, Fierce Females, and Wonder Women Who Ruled the World

National Geographic. Nov. 2019. 176p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781426335358.
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Gr 4-8–This collective biography highlights luminaries in a range of fields (sports, arts, science, and leadership) throughout the world and throughout history. While highly browsable and graphically formatted to appeal to young readers, the wide scope of this volume is also a weakness. With so much to cover, it inevitably misses a lot of people. Modern political leaders of any kind are an obvious gap in the collection, which is confusing since that category would fit so obviously within the expansive representation of women’s jobs. This may have been an intentional decision to avoid political partisanship, but it creates an imbalance in the coverage of the work. This oversight implies that women stopped being politically active after the careers of those listed in “Pioneering Politicians” ended. While there is an index, it appears to be not entirely accurate. The entry for Hillary Clinton sends the reader to the page on Mildred Benson (aka Carolyn Keene). The inclusion of some images is also confusing. For example, a still from the 2018 film Tomb Raider on the spread about the “First Ruler of Japan” is never explained.
VERDICT This glossy package may get lost on library shelves and should not be considered a definitive collective biography. It could serve as a resource for middle grade readers where there is a need.

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