________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 6. . . .October 10, 2014


Mr. Frank.

Irene Luxbacher.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood/House of Anansi Press, 2014.
32 pp., hardcover & pdf, $16.95 (hc.), $14.95 (pdf).
ISBN 978-1-55498-435-0 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-55498-436-7 (pdf).

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Kay Weisman.

**** /4



Mr. Frank was a tailor.

He had been measuring, cutting, stitching, sewing, mending and pressing clothes for many years. Since he was a boy, really.

In all the years he had been a tailor, he had made a lot of very special clothes for very special people. But on this particular day, Mr. Frank received an order for an outfit that made all the others seem rather dull.


Elderly Mr. Frank is ready to retire after a long and busy career sewing special clothes for important people. Then he gets an order for one last outfit—one that must fit perfectly and be stylish, yet playful. Furthermore, it must be comfortable and very special. He chooses the fabric carefully—“velvety soft, as light as silk, more durable than denim, and warm an cozy as the finest felt.” He cuts and stitches with special care, and when he finally finishes the outfit, he turns off the light and packs away his tools for the very last time. Finally, his last mystery project is revealed to be a superhero costume for a young boy, presumably Mr. Frank’s grandson.

internal art     Luxbacher’s gentle story, dedicated to her father “Frank the Tailor,” brims with nostalgia and affection. Her mixed media illustrations include soft pencil drawings interspersed with photos, fabrics, wallpaper, and pattern pieces, and provide readers with an overview of sartorial styles from the past sixty years. The final spreads depict Mr. Frank interacting with his grandson and suggest that, while he may no longer be employed, his sewing skills are very much still in demand for costumes. Mr. Frank makes a wonderful read-aloud; pair it with Phoebe Gilman’s Something for Nothing or a favourite version of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Highly Recommended.

Kay Weisman, a librarian and reviewer, now writes “Information Matters” for School Library Monthly and works as a youth librarian at West Vancouver Memorial Library.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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