Troublemakers in Trousers: Women and What They Wore to Get Things Done

­Charlesbridge. Oct. 2022. 176p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781623540951.
Gr 4-9–It wasn’t until 2013 that France finally repealed a law against women wearing pants. The prolific Albee explores the impact of social mores in which women had to break the law, confounding social order to achieve their goals—in pants. With such an engaging premise, the stories of 20 women are detailed, from Queen Hatshepsut to Marcenia “Toni” Stone, the first woman to play major-league baseball. Women disguised themselves as men for many reasons: fighting for freedom, supporting their families, and creating art. Well-chosen insets broaden the historical context that triggered their choices. Fascinating facts like “silk wouldn’t tear if an arrow pierced the body, making it easier to yank the arrow out” informed Mongol soldier Khutulun’s fashion choices. Readers learn of the hostility toward women and discover the lengths they went to—such as walking 150 miles to enlist in the Union army, as Deborah Sampson did. Kajfez’s colorful, full-page portraits open chapters in a carefully detailed, cartoon style that counters the primary source images. Illustrations, photos, maps, and carefully selected visuals authenticate the subjects, although captions are occasionally too brief. The strength of these short biographies is the subjects themselves; a diverse, international, and exceptional group.
VERDICT Albee delivers in-depth portraits enticing enough to inspire further study; for all middle grade nonfiction collections.

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