Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Wild Washerwomen by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake

What immediately grabbed my attention to this book as I'm sure it did many readers were the illustrations by Quentin Blake. I absolutely love his illustrations found in the Roald Dahl books so I had to check out this book! This is the tale of seven washerwomen who worked for an evil man Mr. Balthazar Tight, who made them work harder and harder each day. Finally the women found it too much and refused to work and instead went absolutely wild through the town. Since they were so strong from working all day and night no one could stop them. In the end seven woodcutters try to scare off the washerwomen, but their plan back fired and the women just cleaned off their dirty appearances. The washerwomen discover they can not run away from their jobs and end up marrying the woodsmen. This was a truly funny story! It was so great how just one day the women decided to stop taking orders and just went wild. The only problem I have this story is the roles that gender plays in to the characters. Why do all the washers have to be women with a male boss and why is that only seven strong men can finally control the women? These are just some of the questions I had while reading. Although this book does feed into different gender stereotypes and expectations, I did find it a fun read that younger children would enjoy with great illustrations.

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