This wonderful book could be a primer on ways to make a picture book glow.
On the first page I already start to fall in love with the breezy, funny narrative voice:
In the old days, most girls came to America with a dream, but all Tillie Anderson had was a needle. so she got herself a job in a tailor’s shop and waited for a dream to come and find her. One day it rolled right by her window.
The story of this early female bicycle racer unfolds with rollicking, unexpected word choice:
Tillie dreamed of the speedy, scorchy, racy kind of riding
and with page turns that brilliantly build suspense:
Tillie had found that riding in dresses and skirts meant spilling, not speeding, falling, not flying. So…[page turn] Tillie used her noodle and her needle to make something entirely different from what was sold in the ladies’ shop where she worked.
I cheered for Tillie all the way through to the funny surprise ending, amazed and happy that such a remarkable woman really lived.
Tillie the Terrible Swede: How One Woman, A Sewing Needle, and a Bicycle Changed History, by Sue Stauffacher, illustrated by Sarah McMenemy. Knopf: 2011.