Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Young Imogene Tripp lives in the small town of Liddleville, New Hampshire. From babyhood she has been fascinated by history. She is distressed by the condition of the neglected Liddleville Historical Society building. After cleaning it up and organizing it, Imogene waits for visitors in vain. One day a notice is posted stating that the building will be torn down for construction of a shoelace factory. Appalled, Imogene protests to the mayor, but he is firm. "Who cares about history?" he asks. In one of her many quotes from history, Imogene declares, "I have not yet begun to fight!" She keeps trying to make the town care, but everyone is on the side of the shoelaces. In her last goodbye to the Society, however, Imogene finds a letter from George Washington, proving that he had slept there. Spreading the word, she stops the bulldozers until the president arrives to declare the house a national landmark. She has saved it. This feisty female is supported by a woman president as well. Carpenter's sketchy, pen-and-ink drawings with digital media are informative as well as light-hearted. She fills the long double-page spreads with attractive scenes of the town and the collections in the museum. Imogene is a delightful young heroine; the mayor is a proper, pudgy politician. The comparatively slight story is not only inspiring. It is also a way of introducing history through the quotations used by Imogene that are placed in historic context on the end pages. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Imogene is a feisty child who loves history and spouts quotes from famous people on all occasions. When she discovers the now-abandoned Historical Society building in her New Hampshire town, she cleans it up and opens it as a museum. No one comes. Then one morning she finds a sign posted outside the building stating that it will be torn down to make room for a shoelace factory. Imogene tries to enlist the aid of the mayor and other influential people, but they all say that the factory will put them on the map. At the last minute, she finds a letter in the museum that was written by George Washington to indicate that he had slept there. She notifies a historian and then puts herself in a stockade on the porch as the wrecking crew approaches. Soon the whole town turns out to watch the spectacle, and people tell her to move. "'In the immortal words of the Vietnam War protesters,' she shouted, 'Heck no, I won't go!'" (There is no mention of the fact that the quote has been changed.) The President of the United States (an African-American woman) appears and declares the museum a national landmark. Illustrations done in pen-and-ink and digital media provide a lot of historical details and humor, featuring a determined child who rides in a sidecar on her father's motorcycle. This title could serve as a jumping-off place for some early elementary history lessons.—Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI
Armed with gumption and grit, a young history maven takes on her town to prevent the historical society's demolition. Imogene's first words were: "Four score and seven years ago." During her kindergarten show-and-tell, she gave lectures on women in history. After refurbishing the forgotten Liddleville Historical Society, Imogene discovers the Society is slated for destruction to make way for a shoelace factory. Announcing boldly "I have not yet begun to fight," Imogene mounts an epic campaign to save the Society. She spouts quotes from historical figures, argues with the mayor, alerts the town in her Paul Revere costume, posts signs and drops flyers. But no one cares and the bulldozers approach-until she uncovers a letter from George Washington that changes everything. Fleming peppers the text with famous quotes that add a layer of historical depth to the story while Carpenter's amusing, active and detailed pen-and-ink-and-digital-media illustrations follow determined, resolute, bespectacled Imogene through Liddleville as she campaigns to save her town's heritage and makes a little history of her own. (historical notes) (Picture book. 4-8)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, The Horn Book Magazine, November/December 2009: "With a light touch, complemented by Carpenter’s breezy illustrations, Fleming introduces rather than stresses these issues, making room for more thoughtful discussion but never requiring it"
Publishers Weekly, October 5, 2009: "Imogene’s passion and comedic perseverance inspire"
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2009: "Fleming peppers the text with famous quotes that add a layer of historical depth to the story"
Booklist, July 1, 2009: "Fleming’s sense of small-town space is impeccable; Carpenter’s pen-and-ink art enjoyably scribbly; and the historical facts and quotes that bookend the story are just the thing to get new Imogenes fired up."