Two cups of tea for two powerful advocates for equal rights.
The setting is genteel as the titular two good friends sip afternoon tea by the soft glow of candlelight. But wait! She is wearing bloomers—outrageous garb for a woman in the 19th century—and he is carrying a book—not an expected accoutrement for a black man. She is Susan B. Anthony, who campaigned for women’s rights, and he is Frederick Douglass, who spoke vehemently and eloquently for equal rights for people of all colors. The two were friends, and in his imagined scenario, Robbins deftly moves between her objectives and words to those of Douglass. He gives a basic introduction to what society expected of women and how African-Americans were denied rights. The husband-and-wife illustrator team uses paint, collage, and colored pencils in scenes that vary from tea-table serenity to tableaux of public speaking with hecklers in the foreground. Some of the double-page–spread scenes are fanciful, but all show determination. The full-bleed artwork is embellished with swirls of script from their respective writings, a plus for both artistic presentation and content.
Young readers can picture two people of action and resolve and hopefully be equally inspired. (author’s note, bibliography, photographs) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)