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MAMA WENT TO JAIL FOR THE VOTE by Kathleen Karr

MAMA WENT TO JAIL FOR THE VOTE

By Kathleen Karr (Author) , Malene Laugesen (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: April 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-7868-0593-5
Publisher: Hyperion

Young Susan Elizabeth chronicles the final years of the women’s suffrage movement with all the earnestness of the indoctrinated. She watches her mother march in parades and then joins her on the picket line in front of the White House, watching with equal parts dismay and pride as a policeman leads her mother off to jail. The narrative is very much a teaching tool, compressing the events into one child’s experience and using dialogue to convey all too much of the argument. Karr’s writing seems to have lost its customary spark with the transition from novel to picture-book length, and newcomer Laugesen’s illustrations are strangely heavy, doing little to bring the text to life. One particularly troublesome error in fact is the use of purple, white and green as the colors of the suffrage movement; although they were imported from England that way, by the time this story takes place, green had been replaced by gold in the American movement. It’s an effort full of good intentions—but good intentions without spark remain simply intentions, not achievement. (Picture book. 5-8)