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Tillie the Terrible Swede: How One Woman, a Sewing Needle, and a Bicycle Changed History

When Tillie Anderson came to America, all she had was a needle. So she got herself a job in a tailor shop and waited for a dream to find her. One day, a man sped by on a bicycle. She was told "bicycles aren't for ladies," but from then on, Tillie dreamed of riding, not graceful figure eights, but speedy, scorching, racy riding! And she knew that couldn't be done in a fancy lady's dress... With arduous training and her (shocking!) new clothes, Tillie became the women's bicycle-riding champion of the world.

Sue Stauffacher's lively text and Sarah McMenemy's charming illustrations capture the energy of America's bicycle craze and tell the story of one woman who wouldn't let society's expectations stop her from achieving her dream.


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"After seeing her first bicycle, Tillie Anderson began saving her money to buy one. However, she wasn't interested in the kind of synchronized riding that was deemed respectable; she wanted to race. She trained by working out with weights and riding for half-hour stints. After realizing that her long skirts were a hindrance, she used her sewing skills to make a pants outfit more suited to riding.... The whimsical gouache and hand-painted paper collage illustrations add to the turn-of-the-century flavor of the book, while the uniform color palette of each spread adds cohesion to the layout. A great addition to the growing number of biographies of daring women." — Stacy Dillon, School Library Journal

Product Details

Recommended Age 5 - 8
Author Sue Stauffacher
Illustrator Sarah McMenemy
ISBN 0375844422
Publication Date Jan 25, 2011
Publisher Knopf Books for Young Readers
Language English