Wheels of Change

Written by Darlene Beck Jacobson
Review by Elizabeth Caulfield Felt

In the first decade of the 20th century, Emily Soper, the 12-year-old daughter of the premiere carriage builder in Washington, D.C., would rather watch her father’s blacksmith pound iron at the forge or sort nails in the workshop barn than learn pie making and tea serving. When one of the first automobiles drives by, Emily’s best friend Charlie is excited, but Emily worries that the horse-less carriages will make her father’s business obsolete. Emily doesn’t want that change, but she does want other changes: women should be allowed to vote, and black people should be treated as equals.

Through a series of small and large adventures: participating in a pie-making contest, visiting a nickelodeon, helping her little brother with a mouse, hosting a tea party, meeting the son of the president, and saving her father’s business, Emily proves herself a spunky and likable protagonist, if a little modern-feeling. Her exploits and adventures will entertain and inform the young readers to whom the book is aimed.