Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves, and Other Female Villains
by Jane Yolen & Heidi Stemple
illustrated by Rebecca Guay
published by Charlesbridge
In Bad Girls, Yolen and Stemple visit the historically infamous women we've all been intrigued with for years. Bank robbers, killers, pirates--all the things that are not "supposed to be" associated with the "weaker" sex, THAT is what this book is about.
Here are a few of my favorite excerpts:
Now the Philistines wanted Samson dead, but no man had the courage to face him. So of course they sent a woman to do the job. (from Delilah's story)
She was called a tomrig, which is a rude, wild, wanton girl. She was also a rumpscuttle, a girl who had little regard for the traditional feminine pursuits. (from Moll Cutpurse's story)
Shed not for her the bitter tear, nor give the heart to vain regret. 'Tis but the casket that lies here, The gem that filled it sparkles yet. (from Belle Starr's tombstone)
Perhaps my favorite little snippet from this book is a poem they included from Bonnie, one half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde: They don't think they're too smart or desperate. They know that the "law" always wins; They've been shot at before, but they do not ignore that death is the wages of sin.
Who knew she was a poet?!
The above are just the tip of the iceberg, as you will discover lots of new, favorite facts about these lawless women! At the end of each story the authors banter back and forth about the guilt or innocence of the woman in question. They force you to take a look at these women through our own modern lens instead of the social mores of their time. The "bed girls" are humanized. You might just discover some of these women were actually pretty normal people...if there is such a thing!