Title: The Taxing Case of the Cows: A True Story About Suffrage
Author: Iris Van Rynbach and Pegi Deitz Shean
Illustrator: Emily Arnold McCully
Publisher: Clarion Books
Concepts: discrimination, economics of gender, economic role of government, natural resources, taxes.
In 1874, the town of Glastonbury, Connecticut enacted a new tax that negatively affected only single female landowners. Because women did not have the right to vote, the town leaders probably did not expect this to become an issue. But sisters Abby and Julia Smith fought back, refusing to pay the unfair taxes, bringing the town to court, and making speeches across America. The sisters declared that taxation without representation was what the country had fought against in the revolution, but, for women, taxation without representation was still rearing its ugly head. The book ends with an author’s note providing a brief biography about these remarkable women. The bright watercolor illustrations help tell their fascinating story in a fun and exciting way.
This book introduces young readers to a historical example of gender discrimination. While the Smith sisters did not live to see women get the right to vote, they were pioneers in helping that happen. The book is also rife with teachable moments about taxation.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children