Soldiers, scientists, performers, writers, entrepreneurs, politicians, quilt makers, pilots... as author Lynne Cheney writes, "Americas amazing women have much to teach our children--and much inspiration to offer us, as well." Coming on the heels of America: A Patriotic Primer
(Cheneys previous collaboration with illustrator Robin Preiss Glasser), A Is for Abigail
celebrates the achievements of women in American history, with a special emphasis on the individuals who helped win equal rights for women. As with America
, Cheney uses an alphabet book format to introduce hundreds of remarkable real women: "O is for SANDRA DAY OCONNOR and others who were first." In addition to the first woman Supreme Court Justice, the "O" page includes Wilma Mankiller, first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation; Jeannette Rankin, first female member of Congress; and Nellie Tayloe Ross, first woman governor. Glassers playful illustrations are lively and busy, inviting readers to explore Abigail Adams's farm or the crowded city block that houses "V is for VARIETY," with its DNA lab, dance studio, dentist office, and "PERSONS at WORK" sign. Snippets of information about each featured woman give a taste; ideally, readers will seek more in-depth biographies about the historical figures who pique their interests. (Ages 6 to 9) --Emilie Coulter
From School Library Journal
Grade 2-4-Similar in design and concept to America (S & S, 2002), this alphabet book is attractive and fun to read. Through it, Cheney hopes to educate children about a number of strong individuals who contributed to American society, and, in many cases, helped women to gain their civil rights. With rare exceptions, the profiled women were born before 1950. For each letter, a page features a person or a concept. The "E" page, for example, discusses six educators. The letter "J" is associated with Anna Jarvis, advocate of the Mother's Day holiday. Information about each figure is given in a phrase or one-sentence reference to her major achievement. The colorful, cartoonlike illustrations make this book particularly engaging, and the detail and varied design of the pages are additional enhancements. Some of the pages have borders containing the names of the women who fit the letter category, such as the authors listed in the borders on the "W" page, which cameos Edith Wharton and lauds women as writers. All of the people are shown in active postures. A double gatefold producing the effect of an opening theater curtain reveals an array of performers ranging from Mary Martin as a flying Peter Pan to Mahalia Jackson singing. While the information is limited, the overall effect creates an awareness of the totality of American women's achievements.Lynda Ritterman, Atco Elementary School, Waterford, NJ
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