Reviews for Bobbin Girl


Horn Book Guide Reviews 1996
Rebecca, a ten-year-old bobbin girl in the Lowell, Massachusetts, mills in the 1830s, becomes involved in the struggle for fair wages and working conditions. The complex story includes many historical details and references and works better as a piece of social history than as a picture book. McCully's watercolors help set the period in this accessible introduction to the Industrial Revolution. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 1996 #5
A she did with Little Kit, McCully tells a story while giving her reader a glimpse of a specific historic period. Rebecca is a ten-year-old bobbin girl in the Lowell, Massachusetts, mills in the 1930s. She admires an older girl who lives in the same boarding house, and through her becomes involved in the struggle for fair wages and working conditions. Soon Rebecca, inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson's lecture on self-reliance, leads her co-workers in Spinning Room #2 in a walk-out. The story is complex and includes many historic details and references; there is also an author's note that gives a brief biography of the real mill worker on whom Rebecca is based. With these many interesting details, the book works better as a piece of social history than as a picture book, and Rebecca is more a means for exploring her times than a fully developed character. McCully's watercolor illustrations include many details that help set the period, with the dark palette and use of shadows conveying the feeling of the poorly lit mills. Although story comes second to setting, this is an accessible introduction to the Industrial Revolution. m.v.k. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 1996 April
Gr 2-4 This tale of child labor, early efforts to organize against unfair employers, and human courage is based on the true story of Harriet Hanson Robinson, whose mother ran a mill boardinghouse in 19th-century Lowell, MA. It tells of Rebecca Putney, a 10-year-old bobbin girl who follows the lead of an older firebrand and walks out of the textile mill in protest of a pay cut. The house provides the context to move the plot because it's there that the women talk about their goals and conditions. McCully's straightforward narrative is told in the third person with substantial dialogue. The artwork, realistic watercolors, supports the narrative but does little to move the story forward. Though crowd scenes offer opportunities for drama, the composition is somewhat static. Not all of the human figures are well-rendered. Some spreads are compelling, as in the after-dinner hours when the women sit around the fire, one wearily soaking her feet. Another striking scene shows one woman's collapse in the hazy spinning room. Despite Rebecca's central position in the narrative, she is primarily an observer and reporter and never really comes to life. Though this entry offers a valuable slice of history and will be useful for curriculum support, it lacks vitality of its own. Carolyn Noah, Central Mass. Regional Library System, Worcester, MA School Library Journal Reviews

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