Brown (Ruth Law Thrills a Nation, 1993) describes an astonishing feat without fanfare or needless adulation, in a story of a...

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ALICE RAMSEY'S GRAND ADVENTURE

Brown (Ruth Law Thrills a Nation, 1993) describes an astonishing feat without fanfare or needless adulation, in a story of a little-known automobile pioneer. In delicate watercolors, using a palette and pen-and-wash technique familiar from his first book, Brown tells the story of Alice Ramsey, the first woman to drive across America. She undertook her venture in 1909 with three women and a promise of car-repair assistance from the Maxell company, maker of the touring car and sponsor of the trip. Her journey offers readers a unique perspective on the US at that time: It was varied (hogs in the farmland, miles of railroad track in Chicago, gravelly arroyos in Wyoming) and vast (the seemingly limitless horizon of Nebraska and little more than a sandy path through Nevada). An arrival in San Francisco is enlivened by much flag-waving in the illustration, one more variation on the compositions that reveal cool nights, hot sunny plains, and lush mountainous forests. Brown leaves the story spare and true, with touches of humor; readers have enough information to pursue facts in other books, among them Patricia Rusch Hyatt's Coast to Coast With Alice (1995). It's quite a story, and Brown quietly reminds readers that it's also quite a triumph.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0618073167

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1997