The Bora-Bora Dress
Carole Lexa Schaefer. Candlewick Press (MA), $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-1234-4
Although Lindsay is excited to be invited to Aunt Fiona's ""end-of-the-summer, snazzy, ritzy dress-up party,"" she balks at dressing up. Lindsay prefers baggy shorts for beachcombing, old jeans for tree-climbing and patch overalls for jumping in leaves; she ""never ever ever wore a dress."" Shaeffer's (The Squiggle) use of language fittingly conveys Lindsay's playfully rebellious outlook. Dragged by her mother to a dress shop, Lindsay reluctantly tries on a ""lots-of-dots dress,"" a ""plaid-and-pleats dress"" and a ""fluffy ruffle dress"" (to which she retorts, ""No way!""). Just when she can't bear anymore, she finds ""a sundress shaped like a wedge of pie"" with a picture of a parrot perched on a tree and a tag that reads ""Made in Bora-Bora for you."" Taking the message to heart, Lindsay attends the party wearing the dress, which transforms her experience. Stock's watercolors combine intricate patterns with mellow-toned background washes in brown and yellow hues, creating a balance of order and spontaneity. For example, in the opening illustrations, Mama, in white-and-red checkered gown, sedately sips her tea while Lindsay leaps, ballerina-style, and then stands on one hand. An aerial view of Aunt Fiona's garden captures the formal stillness of the hedges neatly manicured into a maze, whereas the moonlit dance two spreads later shows five blended images of the heroine, surrounded by a whirl of flying parrot, greenery and stars, barely contained by the pages' borders. A sense of enchantment pervades both art and story. Ages 4-6.
Reviewed on: 07/11/2005