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You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer
by Shana Corey
ISBN 0439078199 / 9780439078191 / 0-439-07819-9
Publisher Scholastic Press
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Amelia Bloomer is not a proper lady. She thinks proper ladies of the 19th century are silly. They're not allowed to vote, not supposed to work, and all that fuss about clothes! Ridiculously wide hoop skirts, yards and yards of hot petticoats, and cruelly tight corsets supported by whalebone or steel made women faint at the drop of the hat: "What was proper about that?" So Amelia, being so very improper, sets out to revolutionize the world for women.
Not only does she start her own newspaper and try to change the voting laws, she also popularizes a new fashion. This bold new garb shocks the proper ladies, but frees all others to move, digest, breathe, and think about something other than keeping from fainting (such as voting and working). Named for their best spokesperson, bloomers marked the start of a kinder, gentler approach to women's fashion--and women's rights.
Shana Corey's lightly humorous voice is perfect for this true story about the 19th-century women's rights activist. A note at the end provides horrifying and fascinating information about women's restrictive clothing (corsets sometimes displaced internal organs!) and the dress reform that Amelia Bloomer spearheaded. Chesley McLaren's breezy, exuberant illustrations charmingly reflect her background in fashion design and illustration. (Ages 5 to 8) --Emilie Coulter [via]