Take a journey through time with seven women who left their indelible imprints on the past. Their history is a story and more. They were farmers and artists and missionaries and storytellers. They fought many battles but never in any wars. They were devout and determined and tireless and beloved. They were brave beyond compare. Betsy Hearne and Bethanne Andersen both make their picture-book debuts in this empowering, beautifully illustrated account of seven unforgettable women.
Kindergarten-Grade 4. History is often defined by its wars and the men who fought in them. Here, Hearne presents a family history that marks eras by the wars in which the women didn''t fight. For instance, the first chapter begins, "My great-great-great-grandmother did great things. Elizabeth lived during the Revolutionary War, but she did not fight in it." The brief text goes on to describe her journey, in a wooden sailboat from Switzerland to America, with two young children and another on the way. Each double-page spread shows how these women''s lives were distinctive in their own way. Some, like the great-grandmother who started a women''s hospital in India, are remarkable by any standards. Others are remarkable in quieter ways, like the grandmother who lived in the same house her whole life, caring for many family members and all of the neighborhood animals. Hearne''s smooth writing style is suited to the succinct narrative; her carefully selected details help bring the past to life. Andersen, in her picture-book debut, has created oil paintings full of color, light, and movement. A dove carrying a pink ribbon moves gracefully from page to page, tying the women''s stories together visually and thematically. Feminism, pacifism, and genealogy are woven together to make an attractive book that may inspire young readers to delve into their own family histories. While this book is short on dramatic tension, it''s strong in artistry and heart.?Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 5-8. In a world where history is often seen through the prism of war, Hearne introduces seven women of peace who also shaped history--through their creativeness, imagination, and, yes, bravery. The narrator, at first unseen, begins with, "My great-great-great-grandmother did great things. Elizabeth lived in the Revolutionary War, but she did not fight in it." Elizabeth came from Switzerland to America in a wooden sailboat and raised nine children here. Great-great grandmother Eliza lived during the War of 1812 but did not fight. She moved to Ohio in a covered wagon and made medicine from herbs and helped her neighbors have babies. Each of the women left her mark on the young narrator, who is shown in the last spread. She plays the flute and studies science and will make her own history. Although this is about one family of women (Hearne''s, as the author''s note explains), children will grasp the universality in these lives, while at the same time they''ll be eager to hear stories about what makes their own families special. The text is strong and sure, with a cadence that makes it easy to read aloud. Andersen''s pictures--dreamy, pastel-colored oils--are well executed, but a bit soft for the sturdy text; however, they do keep the women in the forefront of each spread. History units and genealogy projects are just a few of the places where this innovative piece will be integrated into the curriculum.
In eight two-page chapters, Hearne (Eliza''s Dog, 1996, etc.) draws upon stories from her family to transcribe a history of feminine accomplishment. The undercurrent of personal history runs parallel to recorded history, marked mainly by war. During the time of the Revolutionary War, a great-great-great- grandmother, a Mennonite, crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a wooden boat, with two small children and another on the way. A great- grandmother rode into town on horseback, working art lessons into a day full of chores. Another grandmother became an architect, and then designed and built her family a house. The stories stress emotions (a love of art) and sympathetic human interaction (like storytelling) instead of what the author calls ``the wars that men fought.'''' Soft pastel illustrations by Andersen (who illustrated Sandy Sasso Eisenberg''s But God Remembered, 1995, and A Prayer for the Earth, p. 146) complement these tales of quiet courage and perseverance. The young girl who narrates comes forth in the last chapter, knowing that she, too, can make history: ``There are a million ways to be brave.'''' (Picture book. 5+) --
Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
A splendid book for children, simply told but with a dead-on eye for the telling details that define a life. This is a wonderful book about seven wonderful lives, and how the women who lived them created America, farm by farm, house by house, quilt by quilt, book by book. (
Ages 4 to 9) --
The New York Times Book Review,
Betsy Hearne is the author of several acclaimed books for teens and for young readers, including The Canine Connection: Stories about Dogs and People; Wishes, Kisses, and Pigs; and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book Seven Brave Women. She is a noted children''s book reviewer and scholar who teaches folklore and storytelling at the University of Illinois. Betsy Hearne lives in Urbana, Illinois, but has spent every summer for more than twenty years in the village of Kilcrohane, County Cork, Ireland. These stories are partly drawn from that experience and partly made up out of very thin air.