Cover image for Trudy's big swim : how Gertrude Ederle swam the English Channel and took the world by storm / by Sue Macy ; illustrated by Matt Collins.
Trudy's big swim : how Gertrude Ederle swam the English Channel and took the world by storm / by Sue Macy ; illustrated by Matt Collins.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Holiday House, 2017.

Physical Description:
36 pages : colour illustrations ; 29 cm
The story of Gertrude Ederle's 1926 swim across the English Channel, describing how she overcame difficult environmental, physical, and cultural challenges to become the first woman to establish her historic record
Personal Subject:
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Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
797.21092 EDE MAC Book Junior Collection

On Order



On the morning of August 6, 1926, Gertrude Ederle stood in her bathing suit on the beach at Cape Gris-Nez, France, and faced the churning waves of the English Channel. Twenty-one miles across the perilous waterway, the English coastline beckoned. Lyrical text, stunning illustrations and fascinating back matter put the reader right alongside Ederle in her bid to be the first woman to swim the Channel--and contextualizes her record-smashing victory as a defining moment in sports history. Time line, bibliography, source notes.

Author Notes

Sue Macy has written many critically acclaimed books about sports and fearless women. She lives in Englewood, New Jersey. Visit her at

Matt Collins has illustrated numerous books for children. His art has also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Sports Illustrated for Kids. Visit him at

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Macy and Collins, the duo behind 2011's Basketball Belles, pay lively tribute to another feat of female athleticism: American swimmer Gertrude Ederle's record-setting 1926 swim across the English Channel: "Two hundred people had tried to swim the Channel before. Only five men had made it, and none on their first try." Collins's aggressive mixed-media artwork is well-suited to the tension and physicality of Ederle's swim; in one especially cinematic scene, she's shown surging through cold, choppy water filled with jellyfish and driftwood, a look of determination evident beneath her red swimming cap and goggles. An afterword dives deeper into Ederle's story; in a fitting coda, Collins ends with a vignette of the happily exhausted swimmer lounging in a bubble bath at her hotel in Dover, following her victorious arrival on the English shore. Ages 6-10. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Bitter cold, fatigue, leg cramps, driftwood obstacles, jellyfish stings, threats of shark attacks--its the rare individual who would risk all this for the chance to be the first woman to swim the English Channel, a distance of twenty-one miles as the crow flies but considerably farther for a swimmer up against the push-pull of tides and currents. Macy and Collins (the pair behind Roller Derby Rivals and Basketball Belles) assuredly capture twenty-year-old Gertrude Ederles unique fortitude of August 6, 1926, when, after fourteen-plus hours, she achieved her goal. The book begins mid-swim, and Macys immediate, involving text takes breaks only to supply essential backstory (Ederle had failed at her first attempt to swim the Channel) and scene-setting details (to encourage Ederle as she swam, her supporters played music on a phonograph aboard a tugboat traveling beside her). Collinss retro-flavored mixed-media art has a you-are-there, camera-like perspective, zooming in at key points along the way; at times, water droplets smash against a lens barely separating Ederle from the reader. Appended resources include an afterword offering perspective on Ederles place and time, drawing a through-line from American womens right to vote, won in 1920, to a greater open-mindedness regarding female participation in aspects of public life--including sports, previously thought to be mens domain. nell beram (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.