Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass
Two champions of human rights meet for tea. The premise is interesting, as well as historically accurate. Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass did indeed become friends in the mid 1800’s, drawn together by the similarity of their causes. Equal right and freedom for all. And as the Author’s note at the very end reveals in more significant detail, both won their battles.
Word density and fonts vary widely from page to page, which promotes a full examination of the artwork and stands a greater chance of holding interest. While minimal, the two protagonist’s backstories are paralleled with a consistency that lends a pleasing balance. Between the word choices and sparing number of words per page, I suspect this book would better suit the younger side of the intended picture book spectrum.
Personally, this reader was hoping for a little more thorough look at the inequality of the time period. When it’s mentioned that Fredrick Douglas grew up as a slave in the South, for instance, it feels as though the story would have been educationally enriched by a little more explanation of what being a slave entailed. (The book does say that slaves “had to do everything the master said,” and insinuates that Douglas had to learn to read and write in secret. But it felt like a missed opportunity to elaborate on the fact that they were considered property to be bought, sold, and worked against their will.) Page space is also spent setting the opening and closing scenes, when it seems more efficient to allow the vivid illustrations to handle that element of the storytelling.
"So many speeches to give.
"So many articles to write.
"So many minds to change."
On the whole, this beautiful 32 page work presents strong potential as social and historical tool for children ages 4-8.