Illustrator: Marjorie Priceman
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers 2010
I stumbled on this book at the public library recently. The story caught my attention because it is a local legend from Currituck Sound of North Carolina and I've never heard of Betsy Dowdy.
I will share the book and might even start off the year with it because:
- my kids are familiar with this area of North Carolina
- strong female protagonist
- character shows courage and bravery in the face of adversity
- character shows persistence and tenacity = GRIT (heard an NPR episode tonight on the importance of Grit)
- coincides nicely with the celebration of Constitution Day (September 17, 2012)
However, I'm not a fan of the illustrations. Marjorie Priceman is a two time Caldecott Honor award winner but, the style and art technique do not add or enhance this telling. The characters were harsh which made it hard to connect visually and emotionally. The image of Little Red Riding Hood and the wolves invaded the story line with the cloak and mysterious eyes hiding in the woods. Don't let the art work keep you from enjoying the quest of Betsy Dowdy. Be creative- read aloud the story, withhold the pictures, or share images of the wild ponies of Currituck (readily available online but remember to preselect). This will also lend itself nicely to discussions on Paul Revere and Jack Jouett. If you aren't familiar with the story of Jack Jouett, check out this link.