Book Review: Imogene’s Last Stand by Candace Fleming
Four score and seven zzzzzzzzzzzzz.
As much as this amateur Abe Lincoln impersonator hates to say it, history often has the unfortunate reputation of being boring. Unfairly pigeonholed, I say! While there are plenty of picture books featuring historical settings, there arenâ€™t many that deal with the importance of preserving the past. Allow Imogene’s Last Stand to help fill the void. Credit is due to Candace Fleming (The Lincolns) and illustrator Nancy Carpenter (17 Things I’m Not Allowed to do Anymore), who have created a story about the importance of history that is a delight to read.
Ever since she was very young, Imogene Tripp has been an historical enthusiast. When she sees an opportunity to revive the long ignored Liddleville Historical Society, Imogene seizes it with enthusiasm. After putting her all into cleaning and organizing the old house, she discovers that it is to be torn down, by order of the mayor, to make way for a shoelace factory. Imogene tries to save the Society, but her attempts fail until she makes a discovery that changes minds and just might put Liddleville on the historical map.
Sharp and resourceful, Imogene is the quintessential spunky protagonist. She infuses history into everything she does, often quoting the words of famous Americans. Extra credit points are earned as an explanation of each quote is provided on the book’s endpapers.
It’s difficult to deny the “after-school special” vibe going on. When a feisty youngster fights back against an unsavory developer, the comparison is an easy one to make. However, through humor and appealing characters, the story doesn’t give an ounce of tiresome familiarity.
Carpenter uses pen, ink and digital media to create images that wonderfully match the text. Liberal use of two-page spreads make this book well suited for read-aloud settings. The soft, inviting tones and a drawing style that blurs the line between detailed and doodled will subtly engage young readers.
In the words of 100 Scope Notes,
“An entertaining and undeniably charming read, Imogeneâ€™s Last Stand has my endorsement!”
Review copy borrowed.
Also reviewed by Bri Meets Books.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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