Berta Benz and the Motorwagen: The Story of the First Automobile Journey

Mindy Bingham, Author, W. Robert Nitske, Editor, Itoko Maeno, Illustrator Advocacy Press $14.95 (43p) ISBN 978-0-911655-38-4
In the summer of 1888, Karl Benz was perplexed about how to promote his horseless carriage to an amused, skeptical public. Without a word to her husband, Berta Benz decided to take her two sons to visit their grandmother 60 miles away using a Motorwagen for transport. Armed with pluck but little knowledge, the Benzes set off to publicize the vehicle. Word of the expedition spread and, as nighttime approached, a crowd brought lanterns to lead the travelers to the next village. The trip was a great success mostly due to Berta's determination and ingenuity (for example, using her hat pin and garters to mend the Motorwagen). Bingham ably brings the story to life, and Maeno, who illustrated Bingham's previous book Minou , uses her soft, accomplished watercolors to capture the German countryside of a century ago. The book ends with an afterword by the Mercedes historian, W. Robert Nitske, and a commentary about women's roles in society by the Girls Club of America. This is a marvelous debut for a series designed to celebrate women who shaped the modern world and to inspire today's young women to take risks in nontraditional fields of study and work. Ages 7-12. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1989
Release date: 08/01/1989
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