The Bravest Woman in America

Marissa Moss, illus. by Andrea U'Ren. Random/Tricycle, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58246-369-8
Moss's (Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee) short, stirring biography of 19th-century lighthouse keeper Ida Lewis centers on Lewis's first rescue, at age 16, off the coast of Rhode Island. Lewis, who took over keeping duties at Lime Rock from her ailing father when she was a teenager, spent her life near the ocean. "She loved it when it was wild with froth.... the bite of salt in her nose as she breathed in the ocean air." After Lewis sees a boat with four boys capsize, a descriptive, dramatic narrative relates how she speeds into action, rowing to the scene and hauling each one into her craft. U'Ren's (Feeding the Sheep) bold, mixed-media illustrations capture the power and many moods of the sea, from calm ultramarine to the foam-topped dark slate and deep green of stormy waters. Heavy brushstrokes and black outlines (which make some illustrations resemble woodcuts) suggest the deliberate strength with which Ida carried out her vocation. An author's note reveals how Lewis went on to rescue others, receiving the Congressional Life Saving Medal and additional awards. Ages 5–8. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/09/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
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