Review Blog

Apr 16 2019

Dress like a girl by Patricia Toht

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Illus. by Lorian Tu-Dean. HarperCollins, 2019. ISBN: 9780062798923. 32pp., hbk.
Time for a sleepover and the guests have been instructed to 'dress like a girl'. But what does that mean?
Does it really mean dresses and high heels, buttons and bows? Or could it mean a space suit, a wetsuit, a medico's coat or something entirely original?
Told in rhyme, the opening stanza sums up the focus and purpose of this book perfectly . . .
What does it mean to dress like a girl
Many will tell you in this big, wide world
that there are strict rules that must be addressed,
rules you will need when looking your best.
But when you are given these rules to obey,
the secret is heeding them - in your own way.
The strong message is that we are each individuals and we should be dressing to suit ourselves rather than what others might say about our appearance, or what 'fashion' dictates or other external influences. Written for the young girl who is becoming more aware of the world around her, what others are doing and wearing and starting to shape her own tastes and preferences, this is a timely release that should spark lots of discussions not just about what is 'acceptable' but also self-acceptance and the influence of peer pressure. Do 'clothes maketh the man'?
While Tu-Dean has depicted a diverse range of ethnicities and origins in the illustrations, there is a strong theme of events like slumber parties being about the friendships and fun that are common desires of everyone, rather than differences that divide or separate or having to conform to a given look to be accepted. Great for the mindfulness collection.
Barbara Braxton

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