Cover image for Alice Ramsey's grand adventure
Alice Ramsey's grand adventure
Brown, Don, 1949-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
Physical Description:
32 pages : color illustrations ; 21 x 27 cm
Describes the difficulties faced by the first woman to make a cross-country journey from New York to San Francisco in an automobile in 1909.
Reading Level:
AD 560 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.1 0.5 36592.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.2 3 Quiz: 21257 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E168 .B8836 1997 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Don Brown introduces us to yet another little-known heroine. On June 9, 1909, twenty-two-year-old Alice Ramsey hitched up her skirts and climbed behind the wheel of a Maxwell touring car. Fifty-nine days later she rolled into San Francisco, becoming the first woman to drive across America. What happened in between is quite a tale! Through words and pictures, the author shares this story of a brave and tenacious young woman who followed her vision to conquer the open road - even when the road was nothing more than a wagon trail. Alice Ramsey's adventure offers a unique perspective on turn-of-the-century America and pays tribute to the pioneering spirit that helped create it.

Author Notes

Don Brown is the award-winning author and illustrator of many picture book biographies. He has been widely praised for his resonant storytelling and his delicate watercolor paintings that evoke the excitement, humor, pain, and joy of lives lived with passion. School Library Journal has called him "a current pacesetter who has put the finishing touches on the standards for storyographies." He lives in New York with his family.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. For two months during the summer of 1909, Alice Ramsey motored from New York City to San Francisco in her Maxwell automobile. The intrepid 22-year-old became the first woman driver to make the cross-country trip, accompanied most of the way by three female companions and, for a few states, by a man from the Maxwell Company. The journey took 59 days and was marked by unpaved roads, poor directions, few signs, and mechanical problems, as well as a few humorous incidents such as a road blocked by pigs. The interesting text is matched by simple ink-and-watercolor wash artwork that dramatizes the scenes. Hyatt's Coast to Coast with Alice (1995) presents Ramsey's saga for older readers. --Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Brown (Ruth Law Thrills a Nation) rescues another American heroine from obscurity, here chronicling the first cross-country driving feat by a woman. Readers set off with Alice Ramsey on June 9, 1909, on the 59-day jaunt from New York to San Francisco. With colorful prose and deft watercolors, Brown evokes an era when automobiles were a novelty, maps were nonexistent, and a trip such as Ramsey's was daring indeed (and slow-going‘her car's top speed was 42 miles an hour). Brown zeroes in on the kind of telling details that breathe life into the dry facts of history‘from the intrepid Alice (decked out in goggles, enormous hat, and duster over voluminous skirts) negotiating an Illinois road "clogged" with pigs ("big pigs, little pigs, brown, black, and pink pigs!"), to the headlamps on her 1909 Maxwell ("Alice had to light them with a match"). The minimalist sketches have the air of being spontaneously composed along the journey. Whether Brown is depicting the Maxwell, a midnight blue desert under a ghostly moon, or the prone Alice, making repairs beneath her car with feet primly together in good ladylike fashion, he captures all the beauty, humor, danger and wonder of Ramsey's achievement. This road trip back in time is a grand adventure indeed. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3‘A true tale with engaging art that stars a heroine with persistence and practical know-how. Overcoming steep mountains and mechanical breakdowns, Ramsey became the first woman to motor across the country. (Sept. 1997) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.