Fearless flying ace Billy Bishop and equally fearless suffragette Nellie McClung are given the graphic biography treatment in the excellent new books, Lone Hawk: The Story of Air Ace Billy Bishop and Hyena in Petticoats: The Story of Suffragette Nellie McClung.
In Lone Hawk, John Lang tells the story of Billy Bishop, the young soldier from Owen Sound, Ontario, who became one of the deadliest fighter pilots of the First World War. Bishop’s story is told in extreme close-up — the book is about his experience of the war, without reference to the war as a greater political event. It assumes that the reader already knows, or for the purposes of reading this book doesn’t need to know, the greater details about the war. It’s a compelling and humanizing method of storytelling. Lang’s black, white and grey art is detailed and particularly excellent in rendering the dogfighting scenes. Give this book to middle grade and teen readers looking for adventure or war stories, or anyone interested in the First World War.
Willow Dawson, creator of the excellent No Girls Allowed, tells the life story of early twentieth century feminist Nellie McClung in Hyena in Petticoats. The story follows Nellie from early childhood dreams, through marrying and becoming a mother, to her many political battles. Those battles included working for the franchise in Manitoba and Alberta, advocating for temperance laws and finally becoming one of the Famous Five involved in the “Persons Case.”
Dawson paints a portrait of the whole woman, including her struggle to balance her politics with family life. There is a certain amount of exposition necessary to explain why some of McClung’s actions were important, but it is well integrated into the story for the most part. Dawson’s stylized black-and-white art is gorgeously expressive. In an afterword, Dawson addresses some of McClung’s views and social campaigns that did not fit into the main story. Give this book to middle grade and teen readers who are interested in feminism, Canadian history or great comic art.
Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2012. Volume 35 No. 2.
Nearly flunking out of the Royal Military College in Kingston, Billy Bishop signed up for duty when the First World War broke out. He proved himself to be a fighter pilot with an incredible instinct for aerial combat. He racked up 72 officially confirmed victories and was awarded every major medal, including the Victoria Cross. He was considered a valuable symbol of the war effort.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Spring, 2012.