#960 – Who Wins? 100 Historical Figures by Tom Booth

cover Who Wins?: 100 Historical Figures Go Head-to-Head and You Decide the Winner!
Created by Clay Swartz
Illustrated by Tom Booth
Workman Publishing    7/12/2016
104 pages    Ages 10+


“Or, let’s say Charles Dickens challenges Mother Teresa to a lightsaber duel—will his superior artistry overcome her advantage in bravery and leadership? Or who wins at karaoke: Nelson Mandela or Jane Austen? They both have a way with words, but Mandela’s over-the-top courage might take the day.
“Who Wins? lets you pit 100 historical figures against one another in 50 unusual challenges. As you decide the outcome, based on rankings (wisdom, bravery, intelligence, and more) and facts from each informative biography, it’s like experiencing history firsthand.” [back cover]

Who Wins? Well, that is up to you, the reader—or referee, as the case may be. This unusual book is cut into three sections: Historical figures on the outer two cuts and the contest type on the middle section. Kids will choose two historical figures who will face off in a challenge—stand up comedy act, stop a runaway train, slam dunk a basketball, survive a zombie attack, rob a bank, graduate from Hogwarts, and many more—kids choose from the middle cut section. With 100 historical figures and 50 challenges, there are—according to the publishers—more than 100,000 possible combinations. At that rate, kids will not exhaust all possibilities until adulthood, possibly late adulthood.

In the match below, Alexander Graham Bell takes on Mary Shelley in a hot dog eating contest. Who will eat more hot dogs? Notice the “challenge names” below the real names (and below this is real accomplishments). Bell is “Lord of the Ring” (engineer, inventor, hearing aid) and Shelley is “Mother of Frankenstein” (author, editor, Goth superstar).

whowin2Who Wins? is not a game disguised as a book. There is a lot to read and learn here as well. Behind each historical figure, kids learn additional information about the person, and a couple of interesting “little-known facts.” The back of each challenge gives the task and asks who is better or enjoys the subject more. Kids then decide who “wins” that challenge based on the numbers and information—or play favorites.

The numbers should help kids make the choice, but they can rely on the information about each historical person given above it’s card. Or kids can rely on some other factor known only to them. There are no hard and fast answers. Kids can decide how they like, but they should be able to justify their answer based on the historical people involved and the numbers each possess. When the two figures meet, with a challenge between them, the battle is won by the historical figure with the higher numbers. For example:

Here George Washington and Leonardo Da Vinci are facing off in a game of ping-pong. Washington has higher scores in the wealth, wisdom, and bravery categories. Da Vinci rates higher in leadership and fitness. The two tie in artistry. What? Here I where I make my own decisions, as I am in charge. Da Vinci was much more artistic than Washington was, so I’m rating this section in favor of Da Vinci. If I simply add up the ratings Washington has 58, Da Vinci 53, but I increased Da Vinci’s artistry score to a 10, making Da Vinci’s score a 57. Who will win? By this method, Washington still wins. What do you decide?

Who Wins? That is up to each child and what he thinks of the scores and the historical figure. Regardless of his or her choice for winner, they should be able to justify their choice. At the very least, they should have a new understanding of each figure based on the little-known facts and the short biographies. What is more likely to happen is a desire to know more about one or more of the 100 historical figures in this book.

The lucky kids who receive Who Wins? may come to enjoy history. I hated history, but this book is fascinating. Who Wins? holds my interest and is fun, given some of the challenges are silly yet hilarious to imagine, like a ping-pong game between Washington and Da Vinci or a hot dog eating contest between Shelley and Bell. Here’s one more for you; George Washington against Neil Armstrong in a Race Around the World. How about another ping-pong game? This time with two formidable females, Cleopatra and Marie Curie? Who Wins? There are another 99,996 possible challenges. You’ll need a copy of Who Wins? so what are you waiting for? (And one for your child, too.)

81f1fgvvc1lWHO WINS?: 100 HISTORICAL FIGURES GO HEAD-TO-HEAD AND YOU DECIDE THE WINNER Text copyright © 2016 by Clay Swartz. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Tom Booth. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Workman Publishing, New York, NY.

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Find WHO WINS? on Goodreads HERE.

Clay Swartz:  http://bit.ly/ClaySwartzonGoodreads
Follow on Twitter         @ClaySwartz 

Tom Booth:  http://www.tom-booth.com/
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Workman Publishing:  https://www.workman.com/
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Reprinted with permission from WHO WINS?: 100 HISTORICAL FIGURES GO HEAD-TO-HEAD AND YOU DECIDE THE WINNER © 2016 by Clay Swartz, Workman Publishing, Illustrations © 2016 by Tom Booth.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

WHO WINS?: 100 Historical Figures Go Head-to-Head and You Decide the Winner
Created by Clay Swartz
Illustrated by
Workman Publishing 7/12/2016


3 thoughts on “#960 – Who Wins? 100 Historical Figures by Tom Booth

  1. This is the kind of book my son would truly enjoy. He loves contests. He constantly asking questions like, “Would you rather eat octopus on the moon or compete in a triathlon with snake and alligator-infested water?”


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