BOOK REVIEWS

Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-04-19 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 5 user ratings
ISBN:1499802390
LANGUAGE:English

" Note: I received a hardcover copy signed by the illustrator at ALA Midwinter 2017. " said.

" I really would have liked to see actual pictures of the women wearing her dresses at the end with the Author's Note. " said.

"Review from an advance F&G copy.

Gr. 2-4. A glimpse into the life of Ann Cole Lowe may inspire future fashionistas with the inspirational theme of thinking about what you can do, not what you cannot change. Oddly though, Blumenthal only offers a glance of Lowe's life. Biographical information - including Lowe's date of death are missing - which may leave readers confused. A timeline included with the Author's note would have greatly enhanced this title. Freeman's illustrations - possibly a combination of collage and digital -- are richly textured and captivating. Lowe would have been proud to see her works captured on the page this way.
" said.

" Loved looking at the illustrated designs - would have poured over those as a young reader!Interesting biography about someone I was unfamiliar with. " said.

"Fancy Party Gowns is a bright and colorful beautifully illustrated biographical children's picture book on the life of African American fashion designer Ann Cole Lowe.

The great-grandaughter of a slave, Lowe was taught to sew by her mother and her grandmother. At the age of sixteen her mother suddenly died, and Lowe picked right up where her mother had left off sewing. She eventually went to design school in New York, but had to study and work alone because of segregation. She eventually opened her own shop and designed one-of-a-kind dresses for high society women. Lowe is best known for designing Jacqueline Bouvier's wedding dress, which she wore on September 12, 1953 to marry the future President John F. Kennedy.

The author's note at the end provides more detailed information on Lowe's life, and there is a list of further readings, which are important and can provide additional information moving this non-fiction picture book to the next level.

Although the illustrations are vivid and bright, the book could have would have included a photograph of Lowe and/or some of the women wearing her gowns to further convey to children that Ann Cole Lowe was a real person, which is not always immediately apparent to young children. The book is listed for ages 4-8, so more explanation may be needed for children on the younger end of that spectrum. Additionally, adults may have to explain more complex words/issues to children like slavery and segregation, which the book only references, but does not really explain.

Overall, the book serves as a good example of a non-fiction biographical picture book, which introduces children to lesser known, but important figures that are often not given their due place in history. A thumbs up. ~The Librarian Uncle
" said.

""Okay, Fancy Party Gowns is the story of an African American woman who was sought out by wealthy white women who wanted her to design and make their clothes for important events at a time when people of her race weren't accepted just anywhere. Like design school, for instance. She got in, but had to study separate from white students. So what we have here is a tale of an outsider who makes the insiders come to her. She had something they wanted. They wanted it bad enough to let her in the front door.

Lowe designed one particular gown for one particular person, an act that ties her to history in a big way. I wasn't aware of this when I read ancy Party Gowns and getting to this part of the book was an eye popper. Hope other readers will have the same experience.

A note about the illustrations: They are both realistic and bigger than life at the same time. Lowe often appears as some variation of the cover image. In my humble opinion, it gives her power."

Excerpt from Original Content.
" said.

" Gorgeously illustrated, completely enraging that this very talented woman who worked her butt off to create masterpieces for some very famous people (Jackie Kennedy's wedding dress!) still struggled financially most of her life. " said.

" The designer is probably most famous for Jackie Kennedy's wedding dress. " said.

May 2017 New Book:

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