Nellie vs. Elizabeth: Two Daredevil Journalists’ Breakneck Race Around the World

Kate Hannigan, illus. by Rebecca Gibbon. Calkins Creek, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-68437-377-2

In this swiftly paced picture book adventure, Hannigan traces the 1889–1890 circumnavigation of the globe undertaken by two intrepid women journalists: “eager and energetic” Nellie Bly (1864–1922) and “refined and dignified” Elizabeth Bisland (1861–1929), who each sought to beat Jules Verne’s fictional journey, Around the World in 80 Days, for their respective editors. As both Bly and Bisland embark from New York in opposite directions, high-energy prose tracks their progress, studded with direct quotes from both travelers and coverage of their trips: “ ‘I am running a race with Time,’ Nellie told a steamship agent in Hong Kong. ‘Time?’ he replied. ‘I don’t think that’s her name.’ Nellie’s jaw dropped. This was the first she’d heard of Elizabeth Bisland.” In acrylic inks and colored pencil, Gibbon provides brightly colored, intricately doodle-like accompaniment as numbered spreads portray the women’s impressively conveyed journeys. Back matter includes a creators’ note and a timeline of women investigative journalists. Ages 7–10. (Feb.)