Credo: The Rose Wilder Lane Story

Drawn & Quarterly. Mar. 2019. 108p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781770463417. $22.95. Rated: Teen+. BIOG
Those enduring Little House books credit Laura Ingalls Wilder as the author, but the shrewd mythmaker behind the saga was actually Wilder’s collaborator-daughter, Rose Wilder Lane (1886–1968). As in his prior biographies of underrecognized heroines (e.g., Fire!! The Zora Neale Hurston Story), Bagge constructs a visual and narrative roller coaster to introduce his subject. With little education, Lane packed a dozen lives into one while dizzily mixing intellectual heavy lifting with romance, wanderlust, and wordsmithing. Progressing from telegraph operator through sales to journalism, she became one of the most highly paid woman writers of her time—published in periodicals such as Harper’s Magazine and the African American Pittsburgh Courier. Monographs, too, poured out, including the series she ghost edited for her mother. Lane is also credited with cofounding America’s libertarian movement, and her “Credo” against big government appeared in the Saturday Evening Post. Bagge’s exaggerated, rubbery art humanizes this extraordinary author, renaissance gal, and political free spirit while lending gentle humor to her turbulent emotions. Lengthy notes add fascinating details.
VERDICT Those who savor tales of adventurous real-life women will enjoy Bagge’s tribute, whether they have dived into Little House or not.

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