Adler's story and Widener's drawings are a triumph in themselves.
San Diego Union-Tribune
The team behind The Babe & I and Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man here abandons the baseball field for the chilly, choppy waters of the English Channel, which Ederle swam across in 1926. The first woman to accomplish this feat, Ederle also beat, by almost two hours, the existing men's record. Widener's stylized acrylic paintings again creatively evoke a bygone era, while Adler's direct yet descriptive narrative establishes the historical context. He notes that in 1906, the year of Ederle's birth, women in most states could not vote: "Many people felt that a woman's place was in the home," writes Adler. "But Gertrude Ederle's place was in the water." Readers will warm to the heroine, a city kid who was taught how to swim only after she, at age seven, fell into a pond and nearly drowned. Text and art offer a compelling, in-depth account of the adult Ederle's crossing of the Channel, as she swam for more than 14 hours from Cape Gris-Nez, France, to Kingsdown, England, despite driving rain, strong winds, high waves, a powerful current--and her trainer's directive to quit. An exciting story, well told; kids will dive right in. Ages 6-9. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"Text and art offer a compelling, in-depth account of the adult Ederle's crossing of the English Channel," said PW. "Kids will dive right in." Ages 6-9. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
K-Gr 4-This picture-book biography covers the life of Gertrude Ederle, highlighting her world-record breaking, long-distance swims. In 1926, women were thought to be the weaker sex, but this indomitable young athlete broke the men's record by two hours when she swam the English Channel. Fascinating tidbits about her 21-mile swim will entice readers: "She floated on her back and ate chicken and drank beef broth." For her victory, she was rewarded with a ticker-tape parade and a letter from President Coolidge calling her "America's Best Girl." More information about her life is appended. In the acrylic paintings, characters with large bodies and small heads, suggesting Depression-era art, are set on impressionistic backgrounds. The pictures of the swirling, rough water add fluidity and motion, and the perspectives that show the small figure of the swimmer in the vast sea capture the immensity of Ederle's endeavor. Attractive formatting and large type make this story of achievement as effective and as inspiring to read aloud as this team's Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man (1997) and The Babe & I (1999, both Gulliver).-Jean Gaffney, Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library, OH Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
The author and illustrator (The Babe & I, 1999, Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man, 1997) team up for a third time in this engaging picture book biography of the first woman to swim the English Channel. Gertrude Ederle, born in 1906, learned to swim at age seven when, after falling into a pond and nearly drowning, her father decided that teaching his daughter to swim was essential. It immediately became apparent that Trudy had a great talentshe won her first big race at 15, swam from lower Manhattan to Sandy Hook, New Jersey at 16 (breaking the men's record along the way), and won three medals at the 1924 Paris Olympics. In 1925, Trudy made her first, albeit unsuccessful, attempt to swim the English Channel and in 1926, on her second attempt, she became the first woman to successfully swim the 20-odd mile body of water. David Adler clearly places this biography in its cultural context, reminding the reader that women and girls were expected to stay at home in this era and were excluded from many activities. Women were deemed the weaker sex and to challenge this notion, especially in the world of sport, took exceptional courage and unusual determination. The stylized illustrations successfully evoke the period of the 1920s. A wide range of beautiful blues, greens, and grays depicts the various forms of waterocean, pool, pondand seem thickly applied, deliberately contrasting with the flatness of the human figures. A welcome addition to the growing body of works about female athletes. (Picture book/biography. 5-9)