Hyena in Petticoats
The Story of Suffragette Nellie McClung – a graphic novel
by Willow Dawson
Puffin Canada, 2011
$15.00, 95 pp, ages 9 – 15
“The government is corrupt! It makes money off the very thing that destroys our precious families,” shouts Nellie McClung in a speech after she helped win the right to vote for women. Nellie fought passionately throughout her life for the rights of women and the rights of the underprivileged. This graphic novel follows Nellie from her birth in 1873 through her death in 1951, offering a powerful, black-and-white illustrated biography more engaging, in-depth, and interesting than most history books. I particularly enjoyed the intricacies of the illustrations—the careful detail in each panel and title page, the artistic borders along the bottoms of all the pages, and the tiny animals embellishing the page numbers!
Classroom Connections: This text is an excellent cross-curricular resource as it examines women’s history and Canadian history (including Confederation), and promotes the use of inferring skills by using the graphic novel format. Divided into nine chapters plus an Introduction, Afterword, Bibliography and Acknowledgements, this text also lends itself well to being an exemplar for research-based graphic novel projects in class.
Review by Amanda Forbes.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Sept/Oct 2012 issue.