ELLA SARAH GETS DRESSED

Margaret Chodos-Irvine, Author . Harcourt $16 (40p) ISBN 978-0-15-216413-3

A junior Diana Vreeland in blue sheep jammies, Ella Sarah coolly surveys her open armoire and announces that she will wear "my pink polka-dot pants, my dress with orange-and-green flowers, my purple-and-blue striped socks, my yellow shoes, and my red hat." Family members try to dissuade her from an outfit that they deem too "dressy" or "fancy" or "silly" (the last comes from an older sister trying to pawn off some hand-me-downs). But Ella Sarah resists their admonitions and proves her sartorial instincts are "just right" when the occasion is a dress-up tea party with her friends. A gifted printmaker, Chodos-Irvine (Apple Pie Fourth of July) uses bright but well-modulated colors, sharply defined shapes and plenty of white space to give the pictures a strong graphic punch and convey a range of emotions. When Ella Sarah's ambitions collide with her mother's disapproval (however mild), Chodos-Irvine shows the confident girl's posture curving into a dejected "S"; when Ella Sarah reaches the breaking point, the illustrator depicts her fury by showing only Ella Sarah's hand on the left, with the toy cat she has thrown, flying across the spread. By conveying her heroine's perspective so convincingly, Chodos-Irvine makes the book's ending a triumph—and one that should strike a chord with dress-up fans everywhere. Ages 2-5. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/28/2003
Release date: 05/01/2003
Board Books - 30 pages - 978-0-15-206486-0
Open Ebook - 40 pages - 978-0-547-53919-5
Ebook - 40 pages - 978-0-547-76894-6
Paperback - 40 pages - 978-1-328-88616-3
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