Review also includes:
The Perfect Rebel: The Life and Death of Emily Davison, Deborah Chancellor, ill. Julia Page, 72pp, 978-1842997543
Two unusual and contrasting new biographies from Barrington Stoke, the publisher specialising in books for children with dyslexia or other reading difficulties. Not that there is the faintest whiff of either being any kind of ‘remedial reader’. The author of The Perfect Rebel is so keen to avoid any such explanation or preamble that the imprint page carries the bold injunction: ‘You do not need to read this page – just get on with the book!’ And the opening is indeed dramatic, beginning with the account of a crowded Derby Day in June 1913 when Emily Davison risked her life by running out in front of the King’s horse waving her Votes for Women banner. Deborah Chancellor paints her as a determined and single-minded woman, regarded by many as a troublemaker, ostracised even by Mrs Pankhurst, but one who was prepared to sacrifice her life for the cause of women’s suffrage. Geronimo poses the same question – freedom fighter or law breaker – right at the outset, putting the scenario into a modern context to help the reader understand the viewpoint of the displaced Indian tribes. Tanya Landman tells the story of Geronimo’s life in parallel with the history of America and the movement of settlers to the west. It’s an exciting tale of the great Apache warrior, but it has no happy ending. The reader is left to decide whether he was a hero or a criminal. Clear layout and careful choice of typography characterise both books, with plentiful chapter breaks to help the reader gain confidence. Look out for other action-packed factual stories in this commendable series.