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Alice Ramsey's Grand Adventure
     

Alice Ramsey's Grand Adventure

by Don Brown
 

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On June 9, 1909, twenty-two-year-old Alice Ramsey 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. "Brown describes an astonishing feat without fanfare or needless adulation . . . . [he] leaves the story spare and true, with touches of humor. . . . It's quite a

Overview

On June 9, 1909, twenty-two-year-old Alice Ramsey 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. "Brown describes an astonishing feat without fanfare or needless adulation . . . . [he] leaves the story spare and true, with touches of humor. . . . It's quite a story, and Brown reminds readers that it's also quite a triumph." -- Kirkus Reviews, pointer

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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.)
Children's Literature - Sue Preslar
This picture book tells the little-known story of Alice Ramsey, who was the first woman to drive across America. The year was 1909, and Ramsey's adventure is one of bravery that reveals a vision of early 20th century America. Brown's illustrations in vivid watercolor and cartoon-style art express an energetic mood children will enjoy.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3A true tale with engaging art that stars a heroine with persistence and practical know-how. Overcoming steep mountains and mechanical breakdowns, Ramsey became the first woman to motor across the country. (Sept. 1997)
Kirkus Reviews
Brown (Ruth Law Thrills a Nation, 1993) describes an astonishing feat without fanfare or needless adulation, in a story of a little-known automobile pioneer.

In delicate watercolors, using a palette and pen-and-wash technique familiar from his first book, Brown tells the story of Alice Ramsey, the first woman to drive across America. She undertook her venture in 1909 with three women and a promise of car-repair assistance from the Maxell company, maker of the touring car and sponsor of the trip. Her journey offers readers a unique perspective on the US at that time: It was varied (hogs in the farmland, miles of railroad track in Chicago, gravelly arroyos in Wyoming) and vast (the seemingly limitless horizon of Nebraska and little more than a sandy path through Nevada). An arrival in San Francisco is enlivened by much flag-waving in the illustration, one more variation on the compositions that reveal cool nights, hot sunny plains, and lush mountainous forests. Brown leaves the story spare and true, with touches of humor; readers have enough information to pursue facts in other books, among them Patricia Rusch Hyatt's Coast to Coast With Alice (1995). It's quite a story, and Brown quietly reminds readers that it's also quite a triumph.

From the Publisher

“Excellent pacing, splendid paintings, and a ‘will-she-make-it?’ plot add up to a Triple-A Motor Club perfection.” The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Starred

"Brown describes an astonishing feat without fanfare or needless adulation . . . . [he] leaves the story spare and true, with touches of humor. . . . It's quite a story, and Brown reminds readers that it's also quite a triumph." Kirkus Reviews with Pointers

“The author of RUTH LAW THRILLS A NATION pays admiring tribute to the first woman to drive across the United States — an uncommonly daring feat in 1909, before the days of interstates, road maps, or gas stations . . . truly a grand adventure.” School Library Journal, Starred

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780613298674
Publisher:
Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval
Publication date:
09/28/2000
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.06(w) x 8.02(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author


Don Brown is the award-winning author and illustrator of many picture book biographies. He has been widely praised for his resonant storytelling and his delicate watercolor paintings that evoke the excitement, humor, pain, and joy of lives lived with passion. School Library Journal has called him “a current pacesetter who has put the finishing touches on the standards for storyographies.” He lives in New York with his family.

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