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INDEPENDENT DAMES by Laurie Halse Anderson


What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution

by Laurie Halse Anderson & illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Pub Date: June 3rd, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-689-85808-6
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

A jam-packed, busy presentation overwhelms this otherwise fresh exploration of women’s contributions to the War of Independence. Anderson sure has done her homework, digging out names and particulars of a dizzying number of strong women from the expected—Phillis Wheatley, Abigail Adams—to the lesser known—Sally St. Clair, Tyonajanegen—working to ensure occupational and ethnic diversity throughout. Each double-page spread features a text box that carries the main thematic narrative forward, thumbnails of relevant women in oval insets, a timeline in an impossibly teeny-tiny font and Faulkner’s loose, energetic cartoons, which are punctuated by often jarringly modern speech-bubbles. Such statements as “I’ll have to see some I.D., mon général,” and “Hey Paul, her horse looks faster than yours” clearly aim for collegiality but will likely strike young readers as patronizing. Lengthy backmatter presents still more worthwhile and enthusiastic information, but in so dense and small a font that it forbids rather than invites examination. Trimmed down, this would have been a marvelous alternative to the Dead White Men version of history—but not as is. (Informational picture book. 6-10)