Monday, November 3, 2014

Review - I Had a Favorite Dress

I Had a Favorite Dress
by Boni Ashburn
illustrated by Julia Denos
Date: 2011
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: hardcover
Source: library

Open up a fresh and stylish story about growing up and keeping hold of your favorite memories. As the year passes, the narrator’s favorite dress goes through a series of creative changes, from dress to shirt to tank top to scarf and so on, until all that’s left of it is a good memory. Assisted by her patient and crafty mama, the narrator finds that when disaster strikes her favorite things, she doesn’t need to make mountains out of molehills—she “makes molehills out of mountains” instead! Structured around the days of the week, the story is also illustrated to show the passing of the seasons, a perfect complement to the themes of growing older and keeping hold (and letting go) of special mementos.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is another library book that I poached from my mom's stack (the last one being Journey, which was absolutely wonderful).  My mom must have great taste in children's picture books, because this one was wonderful, too.

The message about not making mountains out of molehills and learning to adapt and let go when it comes to change is a good one, and it's nice to see it in a picture book for young children.  Unlike Maybe: A Little Zen for Little Ones, which I reviewed last week, the message in I Had a Favorite Dress doesn't hit the reader over the head; it's far more subtle and, as a result, works much better (especially for the target age group).  I liked seeing what creative idea the girl's mother would come up with to transform the remnants of the original dress into something new to be worn and treasured.

The illustrations were really fun.  They were colourful and cute, and employed a variety of media (everything from watercolour and actual stitching to Photoshop) to achieve the look.  I also found it refreshing that the little girl was a person of colour; I haven't read that many picture books where that's been the case.

I think I would have really liked this book when I was a kid... though I might have driven my mom crazy by begging her to turn my old pieces of clothing into funky new accessories!

Quotable moment:

So I asked my mama, "Mama, dear..."
And snip, snip,
sew, sew...
New shirt, hello!

Recommended to: readers looking for a fun story with a good message

Premise: 5/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 5/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 4.33 out of 5

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