It Can't Be Done, Nellie Bly!

It Can't be Done, Nellie Bly!
Nancy Butcher
Peachtree, 2003

In the spirit of Women's History Month (yes, I realize it's actually almost over...), how about an introduction to one of the little known female journalists in American history? But Nellie Bly was not just another journalist - this young woman had an adventurous-streak that prompted her to embark on A Quest: To go 'round the world in less than 80 days, thus beating the record set in Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days. How does a real person break a record set by a fictional character? Especially in 1889! Nellie Bly had some ideas, and she managed to convince her employers - The New York World - to trust her and back the attempt.

It Can't be Done, is an easy-to-read brief biography of Nellie's experiences. Targeted for early-middle readers, it's broken down into short, accessible chapters and the information is presented in a relaxed story-style that is almost conversational. Butcher does a good job of explaining terms and what's going on, without completely spelling it out or watering it down. There are fun details and illustrations scattered throughout, and the reading experience is a satisfying one in terms of both information and entertainment. Having never heard of Nellie Bly before this read, I am now intrigued. As an older-than-intended-audience reader, I appreciated the story and it's "teaser"-aspect - which will make it a good one for the intended-audience, to introduce them to history and biography, without feeling too 'schoolish'.

Book provided by publisher for review.

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