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Ella Sarah Gets Dressed

by Margaret Chodos-Irvine


Publishers Weekly :
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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.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.:

School Library Journal :
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PreS-K-In typical toddler fashion, Ella Sarah has her own ideas about what she should wear and persists in her choices despite her family's suggestions. "Her father said, `That outfit is too fancy. Why don't you wear your yellow T-shirt with white shorts, and your tennis shoes?'" Ella Sarah replies with what becomes her refrain. "I want to 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!" At the end, her equally "well-dressed" friends arrive for a tea party. The larger-than-life family members tower over Ella Sarah, with only their torsos and legs showing. The exuberant illustrations, "created using a variety of printmaking techniques," dance and tumble across the pages, adding emotion to her refrain. The vibrant yellows, oranges, pinks, and purples work together surprisingly well-Ella Sarah doesn't look as shocking as one would imagine. This should be a hit at storytime or for one-on-one sharing.-Linda M. Kenton, San Rafael Public Library, CA

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.:

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