This book tells the fascinating story of remarkable Irish-born Aleen Cust. As a child, she loved being outdoors and caring for animals. Her grandmother, who was a writer, artist and an avid cat lover, shared her passion for animals. Aleen went on to become the first female veterinary student in Edinburgh in 1900. Although top of her class, as the only woman she was met with many challenges.
Aleen showed great resilience as she strived throughout her life to achieve her dream. Her dedication towards her goal eventually resulted in her becoming the first female veterinary surgeon, in the UK and Ireland. Aleen challenged societal expectations yet again during World War I when she bravely drove herself to France to volunteer to care for injured war horses. Both her work ethic and compassion for animals earned her great respect as a veterinary surgeon.
The illustrations depicting Aleen’s journey from her childhood in the beautiful countryside of Tipperary, to the busy city of Edinburgh are delightful. They include many endearing animals and interesting details, such as maps, that help to bring her story to life. The timeline of Aleen’s life at the end of the book is an interesting addition for any young historians.
An incredibly inspirational true story of a brave Irish woman that deserves to be shared far and wide. This picturebook is perfect for animal lovers and all children with big dreams.