Nellie vs. Elizabeth: Two Daredevil Journalists’ Breakneck Race Around the World by Kate Hannigan and Rebecca Gibbon on illustrations is a fun story about two very different women, but who found a way to make history.
Nellie is Nellie Bly. Outgoing and willing to go three extra miles for the story. Elizabeth is Elizabeth Bisland. Shy and enjoys a good book. But both decided that to make news, they would have to go out and make it themselves. And since a little book by a man called Jules Verne was all the rage, Nellie pitched the idea that she a lone woman would go around the world. Only she would do it in less time! Elizabeth’s rival paper decided that she too should manage the trip. And despite a little later start, both women were neck and neck (even though they were heading in opposite directions) for most of the journey. When you find out the winner (and maybe it is no surprise) you will have seen the world through the bazaars and food and even a few famous people will have popped up.
I personally think the not-winner (by no means a loser as she was a woman during a time when women were not thought strong enough to take on the task of writing a story let alone living one) was cheated by some scheming miscreants!
Gibbons art is cartoonish, but not comic. They are colorful, detailed, and expressive. They are quirky and help tell the story as much as the words themselves. As with many picture books I have recently read, this book is aimed at older readers and listeners, but might turn off some of the “seven and up” crowd due to the picture book format.
Great for the classroom if you have a writing class, women’s history class or for anyone interested in “making news and history along the way.”