Mary Wears What She Wants
illus. by Keith Negley. 48p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Jan. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062846792.
K-Gr 2—Inspired by the early life of Mary Edwards Walker, this brief fictional account highlights Dr. Walker's childhood rebellion against the traditional dress of women and girls in the mid to late 1800s. Supported by her parents, she wore pants as she pleased for freedom of movement and comfort. This brief book is a celebration of her early independent thought, fight against social dress norms of the day, and her eventual lifelong career and dedication to medicine and hygiene. Young Mary's self-confidence, support from her father, and personal battle at an early age are presented here—illustrated strongly with shocked adult reactions to a strong-willed child and angry town residents with signs chasing her on the way to school. A short biographical note by the author does not mention the early school she attended that was founded by her forward-thinking parents, but does include her continued independence in dress, her choice of education, and career as a surgeon and activist for the rest of her life. Art in pencil and paper collage with a multitude of prints in pinks and grays create the diverse array of characters in Mary's world.
VERDICT A supplemental purchase inspired by a noted American woman in the field of medicine.

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