Don Brown introduces us to yet another little-known heroine. On June 9, 1909, twenty-two-year-old Alice Ramsey hitched up her skirts and climbed behind the wheel of a Maxwell touring car. Fifty-nine days later she rolled into San Francisco, becoming the first woman to drive across America. What happened in between is quite a tale! Through words and pictures, the author shares this story of a brave and tenacious young woman who followed her vision to conquer the open road - even when the road was nothing more than a wagon trail. Alice Ramsey's adventure offers a unique perspective on turn-of-the-century America and pays tribute to the pioneering spirit that helped create it.
Brown (Ruth Law Thrills a Nation) rescues another American heroine from obscurity, here chronicling the first cross-country driving feat by a woman. Readers set off with Alice Ramsey on June 9, 1909, on the 59-day jaunt from New York to San Francisco. With colorful prose and deft watercolors, Brown evokes an era when automobiles were a novelty, maps were nonexistent, and a trip such as Ramsey's was daring indeed (and slow-goingher car's top speed was 42 miles an hour). Brown zeroes in on the kind of telling details that breathe life into the dry facts of historyfrom the intrepid Alice (decked out in goggles, enormous hat, and duster over voluminous skirts) negotiating an Illinois road "clogged" with pigs ("big pigs, little pigs, brown, black, and pink pigs!"), to the headlamps on her 1909 Maxwell ("Alice had to light them with a match"). The minimalist sketches have the air of being spontaneously composed along the journey. Whether Brown is depicting the Maxwell, a midnight blue desert under a ghostly moon, or the prone Alice, making repairs beneath her car with feet primly together in good ladylike fashion, he captures all the beauty, humor, danger and wonder of Ramsey's achievement. This road trip back in time is a grand adventure indeed. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)