The Taxing Case of the Cows: A True Story About Suffrage

By: Iris Van Rynbach

Pegi Deitz Shea

Illustrator: Emily Arnold McCully

ISBN: 9780547236315

JLG Release: Jan 2011


Sensitive Areas: No sensitive areas
Topics: Women , Suffrage , Connecticut , History , Nineteenth century , Taxation

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Awards & Honors

Booklist Lasting Connections of 2010, Social Studies; Children's Book Committee Bank Street College of Education Children's Choices - Best Books of 2011, Special Interests, History

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews

Horn Book

Faced with an unjust new tax—a higher rate levied on land held by spinsters in the town of Glastonbury, Connecticut, in 1869—sisters Julia and Abby Smith protested: since they couldn’t vote, this was taxation without representation, against which their ancestors had fought in the Revolution. At first the Smiths argued but paid up, Faced with an unjust new tax—a higher rate levied on land held by spinsters in the town of Glastonbury, Connecticut, in 1869—sisters Julia and Abby Smith protested: since they couldn’t vote, this was taxation without representation, against which their ancestors had fought in the Revolution. At first the Smiths argued but paid up, but after Abby was denied the right to speak in town meeting, they withheld the tax. Their cows were then confiscated and auctioned off; friendly neighbors enabled them to buy them back. Undeterred, the town sold fifteen ancestral acres, an illegal action soon reversed. Still, year after year, ‘the cows tramped back and forth to auction’ while the American Woman Suffrage Association, as well as newspapers nationwide, took up the story. ‘The sisters eventually won their case’ (presumably the tax was repealed, though the authors don’t say); meanwhile, they’d dramatized the injustice of denying women the vote. McCully is right at home in nineteenth-century America, and if her aging sisters are almost stereotypically wrinkled and gaunt, her cows have a humorous vivacity recalling Peter Spier. It all adds up to an appealing sample of the resourcefulness of women faced with the bullheadedness of some men, nicely underlined by an afterword pointing out the many other extraordinary accomplishments of the well-educated Smith siblings—Julia and Abby plus three other sisters. Sources include one by Julia Smith herself.

Junior Library Guild

  • This engrossing true story highlights the importance of advocacy and community involvement in bringing about change. It also shows how the efforts of just a few people can affect many people.
  • Emily Arnold McCully’s richly detailed paintings reveal extensive historical research, accurately portraying the dress, technology, a
    • This engrossing true story highlights the importance of advocacy and community involvement in bringing about change. It also shows how the efforts of just a few people can affect many people.
    • Emily Arnold McCully’s richly detailed paintings reveal extensive historical research, accurately portraying the dress, technology, and customs of the time period.
    • A useful starting point for a variety of civics discussions, including women’s suffrage, tax law, and property rights.
    • An author’s note provides more information about the ““[f]eisty and independent” Smith sisters and the rest of their remarkable family.

Book Details

ISBN

9780547236315

First Release

January 2011

Genre

Dewey Classification

324.6/2309746

Trim Size

8" x 10"

Page Count

32

Accelerated Reader

Level 5.3; Points: 0.5;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 6.3; Points: 2;

Lexile

Level 910L

Format

Print Book

Edition

-

Publisher

Clarion

Potentially Sensitive Areas

No sensitive areas

Topics

Women, Suffrage, Connecticut, History, Nineteenth century, Taxation,

Standard MARC Record

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Cover Art

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