Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Daring Miss Quimby

The Daring Miss Quimby

Suzanne George Whitaker
Illustrator:   Catherine Stock 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 8 to 12
Holiday House, 2009   ISBN: 0823419967

Harriet Quimby was “the picture of a modern American women” who lived in California soon after the turn of the century. She not only had a job as a writer, but she drove a car, lived on her own, and led a full and active life. At that time Harriet was considered “daring.”

In 1903 Harriet left her home in California and moved to New York City where she got a job as a magazine writer. Harriet loved to write about new and interesting things, and when she followed up on a story she often had delightful adventures. For example, when Harriet decided to write about a race car, she not only wrote about the car that could go an amazing one hundred miles an hour, but she also rode in the car and she wasn’t in the least afraid as she sped around the raceway. This sort of behavior was considered quite unsuitable for a young lady, but Harriet didn’t care. Instead she decided that she wanted to learn how to fly a flying machine. Despite the fact that her friends and family were appalled at the idea, Harriet persevered, and on August 1, 1911, Harriet became the first American women to get her pilot’s license. Surely this would be enough adventure for Harriet? But it wasn’t.

This delightful picture book biography brings Harriet Quimby’s short but remarkable story to life. Readers will delight in finding out how brave and single-minded Harriet was, and they will come to appreciate how her legacy had a profound effect on the lives of women who came after her.