Reviews for Independent Dames : What You Never Knew About The Women and Girls of the American Revolution

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
Anderson's saucy text challenges conventionally taught American Revolutionary history. Readers will be hooked by her thoroughly infectious humor as they learn about the girls and women who organized boycotts, spied on Redcoats, and disguised themselves as male soldiers. Faulkner's detailed ink and watercolor art shows women crashing the scene, while brief paragraphs explain their heroic feats. Reading list, timeline, websites. Bib., ind. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #5
>From the get-go, Anderson's saucy text challenges the conventionally taught -- and incomplete -- history of the American Revolution. As kids in eighteenth-century costumes stand on a stage flanked by statues and woodcarvings of various forefathers, Anderson scoffs: "Look, another school play about the heroes of the American Revolution. How sweet. We've got George Washington, Thomas Jefferson... Famous guys who did important things.... Of course, you're missing part of the story. In fact, you're missing about half of it." With a page turn, Faulkner's detailed ink-and-watercolor art shows Sybil Ludington and Deborah Champion crashing the scene astride galloping horses. A brief paragraph in slightly smaller print explains their heroic feats, as speech bubbles reveal the student actors' reactions: "Hey, this isn't in the script!" "Cool! They're all women!" The aforementioned founding-father woodcarvings also speak up, wondering what the rumpus is all about. "I'll ask Martha," declares George Washington. Although the pages are rather busy, Anderson's humor is thoroughly infectious, hooking readers in a heartbeat, as they learn about the girls and women who organized boycotts ("Maybe we should call it a girlcott"), spied on the Redcoats, disguised themselves as male soldiers, and so on. Throughout the book, a timeline tracks major historical events. Further facts, a bibliography, web resources, and an index are appended. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2008 May #2
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) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 May #4

Anderson and Faulkner try to do for the women of Colonial America what they did so successfully for the lady behind Thanksgiving in Thank You, Sarah . Opening with a provocative question about why a school play on the Revolution lacks roles for women and girls, Anderson then unlooses a host of possible starring candidates: women who acted as spies, organized boycotts, even disguised themselves as men to enlist. But their attempt to include females in the pantheon of white men in powdered wigs results in a mile-wide, inch-deep roll call. Readers must juggle four different narrative elements--Anderson's text, a time line, oval insets with biographical detail about individual heroines, and Faulkner's mostly irreverent speech bubbles, which provide laughs but can be at odds with the subject matter. Ambitious but flawed, this may go over best with those needing an antidote to fancy-princess trends. Ages 6-10. (June)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 August

Gr 3-5-- The stories of 22 "Revolutionary Grandmothers" take center stage in this well-illustrated volume. A few of the names are familiar--Phillis Wheatley, Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Deborah Sampson--but as the author establishes, there are many women and girls whose large and small contributions to the cause of independence have been largely ignored. Prudence Wright and Sarah Shattuck guarded their village when the men were fighting at Concord and Lexington, and they captured a British spy. After her husband was killed in battle, Margaret Corbin fired his cannon until she was shot, making her the first American woman to receive a military pension. Whether the women were disguising themselves as men in order to be soldiers, raising money for suffering soldiers, sewing and knitting for the troops, or participating in protests or a boycott of British goods, their actions were significant. Faulkner's ink-and-watercolor illustrations are exuberant, often amusing, and filled with crosshatching and dialogue balloons. The spreads are busy and information-packed, and readers will be both engaged by and educated about this critical period.--Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI

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