Mary Wears What She Wants and there is nothing you can do about it! Well, there is something you could do: You can make fun of her, tell her she is not “lady like” by wearing pants, protest, yell and make her feel bad about herself. Or you could support her.
Keith Negley has taken the real-life story of Mary Edwards Walker of Oswego, New York and made a fiction story about the day Mary decided she did not like wearing dresses (with all their limitations) and started wearing pants. The results, of course, are obvious for the times. The people do all the above (and I am sure in real-life, more). But at the end a few girls support Mary and “things were never the same.”
The afterwards has facts about Walker (such as she became a doctor and is the only woman to have won the Medal of Honor) and includes a photograph of her dressed in a nice suit. She would live a long and eventful life, dying at almost 90 years old.
With current events of gender role questioning and the question “What is “appropriate gender” clothing”, this is a nice addition. Not preachy, not in your face, just is. The only real complaint I have would be the illustrations. The cartoon characters were distracting to me. I was not sure if the people were supposed to be representing different races, or Negley decided just to give everyone yellow, blue and even red faces. The exaggerations help show the styles of the time, but again take away from the story. However, if these were realistic images, this book would not stand out from the rest of the books on this subject.