FROM RAGS TO RICHES

A HISTORY OF GIRLS’ CLOTHING IN AMERICA

The history of what people wear is never simple, hemmed about with culture, nurture, mores and occasionally cockamamie ideas. Sills strives to address all of these issues in a busy format, but doesn’t always hit the mark. Her chapters are only a few pages in length and her pictures—most of them photographs—are well chosen. However, the text is printed on papers that reflect many kinds of printed cloth, visually interesting but hard to read. Her subject is American girls’ clothing and the confining aspects of girls’ clothes—from swaddling and stays to hoopskirts to bustles—is highlighted in the 12 chapter headings. She’s so breezy, though, that sometimes information isn’t complete—like why bobbed hair was such an innovation (freeing girls from caring for very long locks) or incorrect (the derivation she gives for “nylon, for instance). Young female readers will be delighted with the photos of Lucia, who designed her own dress, and astounded at how late the idea of females wearing pants came along. (glossary, index, bibliography, Webography, author’s note, lists of museums and organizations) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 31, 2005

ISBN: 0-8234-1708-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

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The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for...

TWO MEN AND A CAR

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, AL CAPONE, AND A CADILLAC V-8

A custom-built, bulletproof limo links two historical figures who were pre-eminent in more or less different spheres.

Garland admits that a claim that FDR was driven to Congress to deliver his “Day of Infamy” speech in a car that once belonged to Capone rests on shaky evidence. He nonetheless uses the anecdote as a launchpad for twin portraits of contemporaries who occupy unique niches in this country’s history but had little in common. Both were smart, ambitious New Yorkers and were young when their fathers died, but they definitely “headed in opposite directions.” As he fills his biographical sketches with standard-issue facts and has disappointingly little to say about the car itself (which was commissioned by Capone in 1928 and still survives), this outing seems largely intended to be a vehicle for the dark, heavy illustrations. These are done in muted hues with densely scratched surfaces and angled so that the two men, the period backgrounds against which they are posed, and the car have monumental looks. It’s a reach to bill this, as the author does, a “story about America,” but it does at least offer a study in contrasts featuring two of America’s most renowned citizens. Most of the human figures are white in the art, but some group scenes include a few with darker skin.

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for thought. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-620-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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BYLINES

A PHOTOBIOGRAPHY OF NELLIE BLY

Nellie Bly’s life was full of derring-do and adventure. At one point, thousands of people followed her every move and wondered what she would try next. But mention this name to young folk today, and a puzzled glance is the likely response. In composed yet passionate prose—not unlike Bly’s own—Macy delves into the many escapades of this devoted journalist. From being voluntarily committed to an insane asylum for a story to becoming the only woman allowed to report from the front lines of World War I, Bly never shied away from a challenging assignment. It was her trip around the world in fewer than 80 days, besting the main character from Jules Verne’s popular novel, that made her a household name. Complete with full-spread photos, quotes, maps and faded-newsprint backdrops, this attractive package will appeal to young journalists and thrill-seekers alike. (afterword, author’s note, timeline, resources, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4263-0513-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2009

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