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Tillie the Terrible Swede: How One Woman, a…

Tillie the Terrible Swede: How One Woman, a Sewing Needle, and a Bicycle…

by Sue Stauffacher

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    Mermaid Queen: The Spectacular True Story Of Annette Kellerman, Who Swam Her Way To Fame, Fortune & Swimsuit History! by Shana Corey (lquilter)
    lquilter: Mermaid Queen and Tillie the Terrible Swede are both about women athletes who had to revolutionize women's dress to participate in their sports (swimming and cycling, respectively).

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When Tillie Anderson arrived to America, all she had was a needle. She got herself a job in a tailor’s shop, and one day a man riding a bicycle rolled right by her window. “Bicycles aren’t for ladies,” everyone would say, but she saved up her money and dreamed of nothing but riding. Every day after work, she rode for half an hour, lifted dumbbells, and swung Indian clubs over her head. She realized she couldn’t keep riding in a dress, so she made her own outfit, complete with pants. Tillie entered races and won them and she was setting records along the way. After hurting herself one day, a man named Phillip quits his career and became Tillie’s manager. With his help, she fights for more opportunities for women. Tillie and Phillip get married, and she continues her life with a new hobby, driving a motorcar. A great book that goes against gender stereotypes and proves that women can do anything they put their mind to. Tillie’s determination is enough motivation for anyone who reads. She didn't care what other people thought of her, and she stuck with her dream. ( )
  afrught | Mar 1, 2016 |
Summary: This biography is about Tillie Anderson, a Swedish woman who moved to America in 1889 in search of a better life. One day, Tillie saw a person riding a bicycle past her window and decided that was what she wanted to do with her life. She started training to become stronger and she created an outfit that was not a dress so she could ride comfortably. On her first century race she broke he women's record by eighteen minutes. Eventually, after a few more races, Tillie was a sensation; reporters wrote articles about her and she was a poster girl for bicycle companies. Other bicyclists were not a fan of her winning so much and getting all the attention. That did not discourage Tille. Her soon to be husband signed her up for even more challenging races; one was an eighteen-hour race where she beat the record and earned the nickname: "Tillie the Terrible Swede". Tillie continued to race throughout the 1890's and beat her records.

Review: I thought this book was very informational because of all the information it had about Tillie Anderson. It gave the reader information about a big part of Tillie Anderson's life that made her famous. The main message was allowing the reader to learn more about her and to discover how she became a bicyclist. Another message the reader could grasp based on this book is how even though she is a woman, she was still able to reach her dreams. There was a lot of controversy over Tillie riding a bicycle and the book even stated that Tillie lost some of friends because she biked and that was frowned upon during this time period. However, I think the book gave a lot of information; it told the reader how she had to train for her biking competitions and how she had to create her own outfit so she could have something other than a dress. It also stated how Tillie did not give up riding, even though there were many people who tried to stop her from doing it. Therefore, it is one example of how someone followed their dreams and achieved what they wanted to. I really liked how this book was written and thought it would be perfect for a younger audience. It is told in a more story-like way rather than just stating facts. ( )
  jbaile14 | Oct 9, 2014 |
Tillie Anderson - nicknamed "Tillie the Terrible Swede" after one of her many bicycling triumphs - was a young woman unafraid of bucking the conventions of her day, particularly those conventions guiding issues of 'proper' attire and behavior for ladies. A recent Swedish immigrant to America, she was working in a tailor's shop when a man rode by on a bicycle, and the rest, as they say, is history. Determined to ride this exciting new vehicle, and ride it fast, Tillie devised a scandalous outfit for herself - it was form-fitting! it involved pants! - and was soon setting records in all kinds of bicycle races. As her mother fainted, and men opined that it wasn't natural, Tillie calmly proved that women could be athletes too.

Although not particularly fond of some of the over-sexualized attire that many young women these days seem to prefer (I know, I know, color me an old fuddy-duddy), I think it can't be emphasized enough that women's clothing - and the choices that women have, when it comes to how they dress - is an incredibly important indication of how equal a society is, as it concerns gender and sex. Deliberately keeping women confined in garments that prevent certain activities - be it sport (traditional dresses), proper sight (certain kinds of veils), and even proper breathing (corsets) - is a form of oppression, and so I'm always pleased when a children's book highlights the struggles of prior generations of women to free themselves of harmful sartorial restrictions. All Tillie wanted to do was ride a bike - something perfectly natural, and eminently healthy - but in order to do so, she had to violate her society's standards, when it came to "decent" behavior for women. Her story is an important reminder that such standards are often a smokescreen for inequity, rather than a protector of morality.

Leaving that aside, Tillie the Terrible Swede is also just an immensely engaging and inspirations story, of a young woman who had the vision to see beyond her life and society, as it was, to how they could be. She followed her dream, despite the opposition of many - including some friends, who stopped speaking to her! - and it brought her happiness, fame, and even love, in the form of her manager, who eventually became her husband. I really enjoyed this one, both for the story (and its message) and the appealing gouache and collage artwork. Recommended to young athletes in need of inspiration, it can be read together with another tale of a woman who bucked the conventions guarding women's wear, and invented a shocking(!) new kind of bathing suit for women: Mermaid Queen: The Spectacular True Story Of Annette Kellerman, Who Swam Her Way To Fame, Fortune & Swimsuit History!. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 12, 2013 |
Entertaining biography about Tillie Anderson, a woman at the turn of the 20th century who engaged in such scandalously "unwomanly" activities as bicycle riding. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
This book tells the story of Tillie. It starts with who she was before she started racing. The book tells about some of the things she had to surpass to become the racer she wanted to be. This is a good book for teaching students about not letting anything get in your way of what you want to become. ( )
  dvnguye5 | Apr 19, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375844422, Hardcover)

When Tillie Anderson came to America, all she had was a needle. So she got herself a job in a tailor shop and waited for a dream to find her. One day, a man sped by on a bicycle. She was told "bicycles aren't for ladies," but from then on, Tillie dreamed of riding—not graceful figure eights, but speedy, scorching, racy riding! And she knew that couldn't be done in a fancy lady's dress. . . . With arduous training and her (shocking!) new clothes, Tillie became the women's bicycle-riding champion of the world.
Sue Stauffacher's lively text and Sarah McMenemy's charming illustrations capture the energy of America's bicycle craze and tell the story of one woman who wouldn't let society's expectations stop her from achieving her dream.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:28 -0400)

A story of America's bicycle craze and the story of one woman who wouldn't let society's expectations stop her from achieving her dream.

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