Monday, October 15, 2012

Nonfiction Middle Grade Fashion Monday

Stories from New York #3Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody. Stories from New York: Forever Four #3
13 September 2012, Grossett and Dunlap

Paulina, Tally, and Miko are invited to go with Ivy and her mother to visit the City Nation magazine offices over Thanksgiving break so they can get a story for 4 Girls Magazine, find out about the workings of a real publication, and interview a mystery celebrity. They are thrilled to be staying in a nice hotel, meeting the celebrity editor, and actually having input into stories the magazine is considering. When the mystery celebrity, who turns out to be teen sensation Quincy, goes missing, the girls guess where she would be and are lauded for finding her. Ivy has some issues with a former frenemy, Dakota, who is trying to steal her former crush Whit, but the girls have a great time in New York and are energized for their next adventure, Staying in Tune (7 Feburary 2012).
Strengths: Glad to see that Kimmel series; Lily B. is one of my favorites.These have great cover illustrations by Cathi Mingus, and are a cute small size.
Weaknesses: I could buy that the editor was named Helvetica, but when the assistant was Garamond, it was like nails on a chalkboard every time I had to deal with the characters. I also don't like New York City, although that may now be against some US law, and while fashion interests me, it also irritates me. Rant later.

Learn to Speak Fashion: A Guide To Creating, Showcasing, and Promoting Your StyledeCarufel, Laura. Learn to Speak Fashion
Design and illustration by Jeff Kulak
11 September 2012, copy from YABC

This beautifully designed book introduces readers to various aspects of the fashion industry. Many middle grade students are interested in the fashion that they seen in teen magazine, but this book introduces them also to the world of designers, runway shows, fashion shoots and practical information about sewing and photography. Step-by-step instructions teach how to make a pair of pants, put together a fashion show and design a photo shoot. Many terms are defined and different aspects of fashion discussed.
Strengths: Adored the 1960s inspired color scheme and line drawings, and the descriptions of all of the inside information about fashion shoots, etc. would be very helpful to readers of the book above. I have a particular students in mind who would love to read this.
Weaknesses: Having made all of my slacks for college (long, sad story), I know that the instructions for the pants would most likely result in something very uncomfortable.  Perhaps a popover blouse pattern could have been included instead. This is petty, but while I liked the illustrations a lot, I was very distracted by the noses on the people, which are often colored in contrasting colors. Don't know why this bothered me so much, but it did!

Rant: While I am ever intrigued by fashion, I find it almost impossible to dress myself. They keep changing things, so most of my clothes, which I bought at the thrift store ten years ago, start to look... not quite right. I LIKE my pants and skirts to come up to my actual waist. I LIKE pleated pants. I have a rainbow collection of shirt jackets because they are machine washable. Once the weather cools, I guarantee that every day I will have on a turtleneck, wool jacket (and not one of these shrunken things), and long pleated skirt (because I can get on my bike wearing them) or wool pleated pants. Occasionally, I try to care, but ultimately... I don't! So I just laugh at the "what not to wear" lists and keep putting on nylons and wearing slips!


  1. These make me wonder if my fashionista daughter would be interested in reading them. Thanks for reviewing them!

  2. Ha! Great rant! My 16 yo is into fashion so at least keeps me decently dressed though I lean towards browns, blacks, and blues. I do have some bright cardis and one pair of royal blue short pantsy things!!

    I can see that second fashion book being a hit at school and will need to purchase it when I get a new budget.