Superstars of History: The Good, the Bad, and the Brainy

illus. by Simon Basher. 96p. chron. glossary. index. Scholastic. 2014. pap. $7.99. ISBN 9780545680240.
Gr 4 Up—This latest Basher creation focuses on significant figures throughout history dating back as far as 1258 BC with Ramses II and ending with Nelson Mandela's death in 2013. The book moves chronologically and covers a wide variety of people, such as Attila the Hun, Karl Marx, and plenty of presidents, scientists, explorers, and emperors. However, only six of the 40 figures are female. The page-length biographies include a colorful, first-person description of individuals and a time line of their lives, as well as their accomplishments, legacy, and significant relationships. Grant doesn't gloss over more unsavory details and is honest with readers about Elizabeth Cady Stanton's turbulent relationship with religion and Mandela's occasional use of violence to secure equal rights in South Africa. Basher's childlike, cartoon depictions of despots Josef Stalin and Adolf Hitler seem strange, almost lending a bizarrely comedic tone. This book should be taken for what it is: a quick-and-dirty jump into history. Even those who aren't history buffs will find the facts and first-person accounts highly readable and might even be encouraged to pick up a full biography of one of the individuals.—Keith Klang, Port Washington Public Library, NY

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing