Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women

A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women

Lynne Cheney
Illustrator:  Robin Preiss Glasser 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 8 to 10
Simon and Schuster, 2003   ISBN: 978-0689858192

"Remember the Ladies" Abigail Adams told her husband in 1776 in a letter. In fact she went so far as to warn him that "If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation." Unfortunately it was not until the 1900?s before women were able to vote. Still, women found many ways to make their mark, to have their say, and to get their way.

Presented in the form of an alphabet book, this is a remarkable collection of stories about women who have made a difference in the history of the United States; indeed many also made a contribution to the world. Each beautifully illustrated, often annotated, page is packed with information and quotes. We meet women who we have heard of before and others who are new to us. We are shown how women have been able to make a difference in every aspect of life, despite opposition. They have been fliers, artists, business people, inventors, and have done just about everything you can think of.

Robin Preiss Glasser finds the most extraordinary ways to present the information; for example, the letter F is for "First Ladies." Each of the ladies has her portrait shown on a teacup, milk jug, sugar bowl, coffee pot, or teapot. The ladies who made their mark in the press are shown on the front of a newspaper. Those who are performers of some kind are shown on a stage.

By the time we close this extraordinary book we feel empowered, knowing that women have achieved so much in a world that has not always been hospitable to their successes. We can feel proud, and we can also feel gratitude to this author and illustrator team for creating such a lovely and meaningful book. At the back of the book the author has provided notes on the text which gives further information about the women pictured in the book.

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