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Fearless: The Story of Racing Legend Louise Smith Hardcover – October 14, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Lexile Measure: 600L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1 edition (October 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525421734
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525421733
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,215,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-4–“Fast! Faster! Flying! Free!” is the mantra of this picture-book biography of a female pioneer in the then 100 percent male world of auto racing. In an era full of no's, don'ts,” and can't's for women, Louise's fearless daring behind the wheel brought her to the attention of an entrepreneur looking for a girl driver as a gimmick to attract a larger audience in the stands. He opened a door Louise never thought to go through, and she never looked in that particular rear mirror again. Rosenstock's brief, fast text follows the dust laid by her spunky daredevil of a heroine, while Dawson's color-saturated paintings portray a determined woman who was still driving fast cars years after she left the circuit. This slender, brief biography of the first woman elected to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame will be an eye-opener to NASCAR beginner-buffs and welcomed by young sports fans (and feminists) assigned a biography book report.–Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In 1923, when she was 7 years old, Louise Smith crashed a car into a chicken coop, and after that, until her death at age 90, she never stopped driving, or crashing, even when she needed bifocals to see the road. While still adhering to a traditional life path (marriage, a nursing career), she went out at night and drove “until she felt that she was finally going fast enough to get somewhere—even if she always wound up right back home.” Eventually, she began entering races from Daytona to Canada in the early days of what would become NASCAR, and she competed confidently, becoming the first woman elected to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Realistic, action-filled, mixed-media images and a well-paced text express the exciting, biographical story of a figure rarely featured in children’s books. Anchored by a strong author’s note, this account of a person once called “the craziest woman we know” is a great choice for both racing enthusiasts and children seeking stories about female trailblazers. Grades 1-3. --Andrew Medlar

More About the Author

Barb Rosenstock often pretends to live in the past, although she's thankful for indoor plumbing, the Internet and instant cocoa. She resides outside Chicago with her husband, sons and two big poodles, who keep her sane (or insane) depending on the day. Barb loves true stories best and enjoys sharing her passion for writing at school visits.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Thanks, Barbara, for writing this!
debgergab
I think children of all ages would love this book; it is an inspiration to girl, and an interest to all.
Children's Book Expert
As a matter of fact, "Most of the time, she did exactly as she pleased."
D. Fowler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Louise longingly looked over the fence watching the boys play baseball. Way back when girls simply were not allowed to do all the things that boys did, but she didn't really care what anyone said. As a matter of fact, "Most of the time, she did exactly as she pleased." When she was seven she found herself behind the wheel of her father's car. Her eyes were bright and she was grinning from ear to ear as she took off down the road "and left those boys in the dust!" Vrooom! Vrooom! Louise was just Louise and when she smashed into the chicken coop sending hens flying, she still continued to laugh and smile. One of the boys scratched his head wondering about her.

When Louise grew up she did many of the same things that other girls did, but never seemed satisfied. She tried her hand at many jobs from working as a nurse to being a beautician, but fast cars continued to be a draw. In the dark of night the only things that lit up the sky were a waning moon, the headlights of her black sedan, and her smile as she raced through the night. One day a man named "Big Bill" came to town. Young boys clustered around him as he showed them a poster of a racing car, but he wasn't looking for boys or men, he was looking for someone very different . . . he was "looking for a girl who could drive in a race as a gimmick, a joke." Louise was definitely up to the job, but no one reckoned that she would become so serious about racing. Racing cars was a tough, competitive sport, but would she be able to be good enough to race against seasoned veterans?

This is an amazing story about Louise Smith, a "fearless" race car driver.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ohioan on April 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was an enjoyable read, filled with an empathetic, feisty character, and little-known information. A great gift book for a young girl or boy interested in auto racing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By debgergab on February 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I love Fearless! I purchased this book for a younger niece (4 years old), but my older niece (8 years old) ended up wanting to read it before bed too. She and her mom really liked it too. One of those that the words and language make you want to read and re-read it.

Here's a description from the Amelia Bloomer Project 2011 Top 10 List: Recommended Feminist Literature for Birth through 18:
"Louise Smith discovered her "need for speed" at a time when most girls didn't even drive; she went on to become a NASCAR racing legend."

For my part, the amazing illustrations really capture Louise Smith's "need for speed" as well as the time period, making it fun for both young and old to read and discover a "new" time or reminisce (making it a good launching pad for your own family stories as well). It's both a fun look into not-so-distant history, and a great look at how a young woman built a career on something she was passionate about--driving fast--and how she navigated not just fast curves in the roads, but other people's ideas of what was proper for a "lady" to do at that time. I wanna be more like Louise Smith! Thanks, Barbara, for writing this!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on December 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As the first woman elected to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, Louise Smith enjoyed nothing more than stock car racing. In fact, Louise started driving in the early 1900s at the ripe age of seven when she hopped behind the wheel of her father's car and pushed the car as fast as it would go. Unfortunately she had not asked how to stop, so a chicken coop ended that ride. As a young adult, Louise tried a number of different jobs, but none appealed to her as much as racing. She wound up traveling across the country in this sport, with little safety equipment for protection and plenty of risk of crashing and earning next to nothing.

Told with a touch of humor and engaging illustrations, this biographical children's book shines a spotlight on a female trailblazer who children may not know much about. Key to the narrative is an important economics lessons about women breaking into non-traditional occupations. Parents may want to hide the car keys for a while so their children don't sneak behind the wheel like Louise did during her fateful first drive.
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