Rockliff introduces Nell Richardson and Alice Burke, whose five-month, 10,000-mile crusade for women’s voting rights drew crowds and made colorful newspaper copy in 1916.
Toting a kitten, a “teeny-tiny typewriter” and “an itsy-bitsy sewing machine”—the better to demonstrate, during speeches, women’s many skills—the women depart New York City in a yellow Saxon runabout. They journey south, then west, across Texas to California, returning through northern border states. (A simple double-page map charts the route.) The spry narrative focuses mainly on the outward-bound segments, as Nell and Alice weather an East Coast blizzard, address curious crowds, join a circus parade in Georgia, and attend genteel socials. Rockliff knits from a skein of exciting cross-country events, all drawn from contemporary newspaper accounts. “They dodged bullets at the Mexican border… / drove on through the desert… / and got lost for days… / till, finally, they reached… // CALIFORNIA!” Hooper’s sunny full-page and spot pictures combine pencil and printmaking in digital layers that evoke the off-register color separations of mid-20th-century children’s illustrations. Most faces, features penciled in, are left as white as the background paper, with occasional pink or tan accents for cheeks and noses. Diversity is expressed in crowd scenes and on a New Orleans veranda, with a few faces tinted tan or brown.
A lively look at the ingenuity of women suffragists near the end of their long road to the vote. (historical note, source note, bibliography of children’s titles) (Informational picture book. 5-8)