Kulling, Monica. The Tweedles go Electric.
1 March 2014, Groundwood Books
Copy received from the publisher.
Even after many of their neighbors have cars in 1903, the Tweedles hold out, preferring to ride bicycles until Mr. Tweedle decides to buy an electric car. Franny isn't all that excited, but her brother Francis is. When the family buys an electric car, people on the street make fun of them. They might get blown up! Still, the family enjoys driving around, and when a neighbor needs to go to the hospital suddenly, he is grateful that the Tweedle's car is working and that it is so simple to operate that Franny is able to drive it!
Strengths: To me, the point of historical fiction is to introduce children to what the world was like at different points in time. Children today can't begin to understand what it is like to not have automobiles around, or why people might have been afraid of electricity. This is a good introduction to what the world was like when cars were a new thing.
Weaknesses: The pictures in this book are a bit odd-- I was not understanding the mother's hair at all! I also thought that Franny was given a bit too much of a feminist outlook; certainly some women at the time would have become race car drivers, but there is a quote on one page, "Like most girls, she is more interested in higher education", that struck me as odd. In 1903, I don't think that most of the population in general was terribly interested in higher education, much less women. That said, my grandmother would have been almost exactly the same age as Franny, and while she went to college and became a teacher, she never learned to drive a car!