ABC and NPR correspondent Roberts and Caldecott Honoree Goode forge an attractive and compelling version for young people of Roberts’ adult book of the same title.
Goode’s illustrations are often breathtaking. On the endpapers, she has reproduced in sepia tones with antique pens some of the source documents that allow readers to know these women. Roberts’ lively text is illuminated with flourishes and curlicues along with winsome or whimsical portraits in what looks like ink and watercolor. Some women get two-page illustrated spreads, like Esther DeBerdt Reed, who wrote one of the endpaper pieces and who raised thousands of dollars for Washington’s troops. They bought linen for 2,000 shirts for the soldiers, and into each was sewn the name of the woman who made it. There are briefer vignettes on women writers and women warriors, as well as an illustrated timeline from 1765 to 1815. Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison and Martha Washington are included of course, and there’s also Mercy Otis Warren, who wrote letters and poems championing the cause of freedom, and Eliza Lucas Pinckney, whose “little schemes” included raising silkworms and cultivating indigo as a cash crop. Roberts’ “Letter of Introduction” sets the stage, and the acknowledgments from writer and illustrator tell a compelling story of research and support.
It is a wonderful package, adding the women who made it work to the men we thought we all knew. (websites) (Nonfiction. 8-12)