From School Library Journal
Grade 5-10-As she did in Outrageous Women of Ancient Times (Wiley, 1997), Leon again uses lively prose and modern comparisons to make the past understandable to young people. "When religion was the only game in town," readers learn, Hildegard of Bingen lived "in a gloomy torch-lit room about the size of a breakfast nook." The author's characteristic blend of playful language and historical accuracy tells of a Viking killed by a severed head, a queen who knew the meaning of congregating frogs, and much more. The stories and sidebars provide a detailed picture of the times. It is rare to see a book about the Middle Ages that presents such diversity. The women profiled lived in the 6th through 14th centuries in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Their spheres included everything from astronomy to warfare. They were nomads and empresses. The list for further reading is impressive; the black-and-white drawings and reproductions are appropriate for the text. Patrons who found Karen Cushman's Catherine Called Birdy (1994) and The Midwife's Apprentice (1995, both Clarion) interesting will find this book fascinating.Rebecca O'Connell, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
The history of the Middle Ages generally presents the brave deeds of men, and Len, through painstaking and thorough research, presents the stories of 14 influential women of Europe, Africa, and the Far East, from 500 b.c. through a.d. 1500. Among them is Aud, a Viking woman from Norway, who, as a grandmother, moved her family to Iceland in a boat built of oak and pine; Matilda, of England, who fought ``to win over the majority of English vassals''; Eleanor of Aquitaine, ``the most celebrated queen of the Middle Ages''; Hildegard of Bingen, who possessed vast visions and spiritual gifts; Khadija bint Khuwaylid, the first wife of the prophet Mohammed; and Murasaki Shikibu, of Japan, who wrote The Tale of Genji. Detracting from the inherently fascinating material is the author's regular use of contemporary slang``tough cookies,'' ``trotted the globe,'' ``grandkids,'' ``bum's rush,'' ``[marriage] on the rocks,'' ``whippersnapper,'' ``eggheads and nerds,'' etc.which may prevent the book from withstanding the test of time. (b&w illustrations, maps, chronology, further reading) (Nonfiction. 11-13) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.