Women Daredevils: Thrills, Chills and Frills
Dutton Juvenile (2008)
Reviewed by Anne Marie Medema (age 12) for Reader Views (7/08)
Julie Cummins, author of “Women Daredevils,” is a fair writer. Cummins has researched the events in many famous women’s lives. Then these findings were condensed into an assortment of brief biographies. Each biography is limited and only offers a glimpse into their life. Cummins uses simple and easy-to-read words. There is little depth to her writing. The book moves slowly when read. The author’s original idea of writing a book about many women is good. But the way she wrote it lacks excitement and does not hold the readers interest. The illustrations were created by Cheryl Harness; although they are colorful, they add little to the storyline.
“Women Daredevils” is a book consisting of thirteen biographies of women daredevils. The first biography is Zazel a human cannonball. She began her career in Europe. When P.T. Barnum circus hired her she started the cannonball act wearing pink tights.
The second woman is Annie Edson Taylor who went over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She is called Queen of the Mist. It took Taylor seventeen minutes to go over the falls in a barrel. The third woman is Mlle D’Zizi who performed a fast bicycle act. D’Zizi jumped out of a bicycle jump and over six elephants. Some thought D’Zizi was a man. Gertrude Breton also jumped over huge spaces on a bicycle. Her act only lasted four seconds.
Isabelle Butler did the dip of death. She drove a car loop upside down that lasted four seconds. For every second Butler was paid $100. Butler performed her act twice a day so she could earn money in the circus. Soon the La Rague Sisters did the same act but at the same time. It had to be timed precisely at three tenths of a second.
May Wirth performed tricks on horses bareback. She rode an untamed bull named King Jess. While riding the bull Wirth would cried out “I win, I’ll ride your bull any day, Jess for fun.” President Wilson loved her daring act. Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick would parachute and test items her father invented, like parachutes. Another woman, Mabel Stark trained tigers. Stark had so many scars on her body there was not a part of her body without one. Gladys Roy and Gladys Ingle both did daring stunts on the wings of planes. Sonora Carver did a high dive act on a horse. Redlips was the name of her horse. On one dive Redlips twisted Carver which caused her to be blinded when she hit the water.
“Women Daredevils” by Julie Cummins is an easy-read book for young girls. The book I received did not come with a binding which I found to be awkward. I did not enjoy reading this book. I found it did not hold my interest and frankly was boring. I was wishing the author would tell me more about each woman daredevil. The idea of compiling a book about women daredevils was a good idea. Unfortunately, “Women Daredevils” fell short of offering excitement to the reader.