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by Jane Kurtz & illustrated by Beth Peck

Age Range: 9 - 11

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-8050-6981-X
Publisher: Henry Holt

Women who want the vote or ride bicycles are on the road to madness, learns motherless Lillie, who reaches out in friendship to “dangerous,” politically active Frances Willard. Together they remember their mothers’ love and dreams and the ensuing relationship builds more than their confidence; they learn not to give up the small battles. “Spellings spill from my mind like water,” agonizes Lillie as she faces her nemesis, the annual spelling bee. Willard, on the other hand, studies the new safety bicycle folks have said will conquer her. Plucked from history, Willard, a neighbor and a friend, learned to ride the bicycle in her 50s, fought against child labor, spoke against alcohol, and dreamed of having the vote. Kurtz’s tendency to overstate her message makes this merely decent, if heavy-handed, historical fiction on the advancement of women’s roles and rights. Still, it will have its fans. (Fiction. 9-11)