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Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution

Laurie Halse Anderson, Author, Matt Faulkner, Illustrator , illus. by Matt Faulkner. Simon & Schuster $16.99 (37p) ISBN 978-0-689-85808-6

Anderson and Faulkner try to do for the women of Colonial America what they did so successfully for the lady behind Thanksgiving in Thank You, Sarah . Opening with a provocative question about why a school play on the Revolution lacks roles for women and girls, Anderson then unlooses a host of possible starring candidates: women who acted as spies, organized boycotts, even disguised themselves as men to enlist. But their attempt to include females in the pantheon of white men in powdered wigs results in a mile-wide, inch-deep roll call. Readers must juggle four different narrative elements—Anderson's text, a time line, oval insets with biographical detail about individual heroines, and Faulkner's mostly irreverent speech bubbles, which provide laughs but can be at odds with the subject matter. Ambitious but flawed, this may go over best with those needing an antidote to fancy-princess trends. Ages 6–10. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/26/2008
Release date: 06/01/2008
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