Reviews for Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? : The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell

Booklist Reviews 2013 January #1
*Starred Review* Women not able to be doctors? There's a crazy thought! Yet one woman had to be first. Stone and Priceman combine their considerable talents to tell the story of Elizabeth Blackwell, who fought the scorn, the sneers, and the barriers on her way to becoming a physician. Priceman's always active art works particularly well here, beginning with her depiction of young Elizabeth, who liked to explore and was willing to take on both fights and challenges. As an adult, prompted by a friend who wished for a woman doctor, Blackwell decided to apply to medical school--and so the rejection began. Once accepted, she was treated abysmally by her fellow students, until she proved herself smarter than any of them. The gouache- and india-ink artwork, featuring rich colors accented by heavy lines, delights. Whether it's a landscape tilted on its side, smaller vignettes that take Elizabeth from waking to sewing circle to tea and back to bed, or a flurry of No, no, no, no . . . swirling around a spread, the pictures feel like poetry in motion. They highlight Stone's almost staccato text, short and snappy, easy to read yet full of information about both Blackwell and her times. The extended author's note will further intrigue readers. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Doctor Elizabeth Blackwell's early life is outlined in trim conversational prose in this lively picture-book treatment. A choice handful of biographical elements are arranged artfully to develop Blackwell's character within the expectations and challenges of her time. Priceman's gouache illustrations lend a perfect framework of energy and pacing to the text and draw upon its provocative and often humorous tone. Bib.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #2
Here's a refreshing introduction to a regularly but often dryly cited female "first." The girl "who tried sleeping on the hard floor with no covers, just to toughen herself up" becomes the young woman who proved she was as smart as any of the male students at Geneva Medical School, and, eventually, the woman doctor who opened the first hospital for women, run by women, because no one else would hire her. Elizabeth Blackwell's early life is outlined in trim conversational prose in this lively picture book treatment. As she did in Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote (rev. 5/08), Stone addresses readers in the second person to involve them in her energetic narrative: "Being a doctor was definitely not an option. What do you think changed all that? Or should I say...WHO?" A choice handful of biographical elements are arranged artfully to develop Blackwell's character within the expectations and challenges of her time. An appended two-page author's note delivers exactly enough additional information and context for readers to understand the basics of her achievement. Priceman's richly colorful gouache illustrations completely dominate each spread, lending a perfect framework of energy and pacing to the text, and drawing upon its provocative and often humorous tone. A short bibliography on the last page offers readers more, its brevity suggesting just how welcome this new title is. nina lindsay

Kirkus Reviews 2012 December #2
"Women cannot be doctors. They should not be doctors." Elizabeth Blackwell received 28 rejections from medical schools before one accepted her. Stone takes a lively and conversational approach to the life of the first female doctor in the United States. A tiny but adventurous girl, Elizabeth Blackwell once carried her brother over her head until he stopped fighting with her, and she got the idea to go to medical school from a sick friend who confided that she would much rather be examined by a woman. When Geneva Medical School in New York state accepted her, she didn't know that the (male) student body had voted on her acceptance as a joke, but she graduated with the top grades in her class. Priceman's swirly and vivid gouache-and–India ink artwork is an excellent foil for the text, which directly addresses young readers' own experience while reminding them that in the 1840s, things were different, and that one very determined girl had changed that. The author's note describes the difficulties Dr. Blackwell experienced setting up her practice and her career treating the poor women and children of New York City. It also notes that today, more than half of all students in U.S. medical schools are women. A bracing, vivacious account of a pioneering woman. (Picture book/biography. 5-9) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 February #1

"You might find this hard to believe, but there once was a time when girls weren't allowed to become doctors," opens this smart and lively biography of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in America. Stone develops Blackwell's personality through childhood anecdotes--as a child Blackwell once slept on a hard floor just "to toughen herself up"--before detailing her career path. Priceman's typically graceful lines and bright gouache paintings make no bones about who's on the wrong side of history: those who object to Blackwell's achievements are portrayed as hawkish ladies and comically perturbed twerps in tailcoats. Ages 5-up. Author's agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Feb.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 February

K-Gr 2--This picture-book biography of America's first woman doctor takes readers back to the 1840s when "girls were only supposed to become wives and mothers. Or maybe teachers, or seamstresses." Stone presents the highly readable and detailed story of a girl who is sure to inspire aspiring young doctors. The anecdotes are well chosen to demonstrate Blackwell's unflagging determination, and the conversational text and dynamic illustrations present a glimpse of her strong, caring personality. Priceman's vivid gouache and India ink illustrations capture the emotion of each scene, as on the page where an exhausted Blackwell lies on a sofa under a cloud of "no's," overwhelmed by rejections (28 in all). Once admitted to medical school, she was not taken seriously by her peers, but studied hard and graduated first in her class, opening the door for women to follow. An author's note continues her life story as well as the discussion of her impact on modern-day medicine, and a list of sources is included for curious readers. A worthwhile addition to any biography collection.--Marian McLeod, Darien Library, CT

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