CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 4 . . . . October 19, 2001

cover My Mannequins.

Sydell Waxman. Illustrated by Patty Gallinger.
Toronto, ON: Napoleon Publishing, 2000.
32 pp., cloth, $18.95.
ISBN 0-929141-73-3.

Subject Headings:
Mannequins (Figures)-Juvenile fiction.
Dressmaking-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Catherine Hoyt.

*** /4

excerpt:

After school I worked at Papa's shop on Spadina Avenue. Mannequins posed politely in outfits that were plain and simple and dark.

"Someday," I spoke to them like friends, "I'll give you outfits that sparkle. Shimmering scarves. Ribbons. Rickrack. Sequins."

"Yes. Yes. Yes," my mannequins whispered. "Dora the Designer."

Papa opened the front door and tugged me inside.

Sydell Waxman does a great job in creating a 1940's garment shop for the reader. With the story set in the bustling garment district of Toronto, the reader is transported back in time. Ten-year old Dora helps in her father's shop every day after school and dreams of being a real designer. Most of Dora's time is occupied by making boxes and carrying out other small tasks. After the staff leave and while her father is busy finishing up the bookkeeping, Dora has time to dream and work on her own creations. Dora loves to dress her mannequin friends, but one night when her father is ready to leave much earlier than usual, Dora doesn't have a chance to clean up. The next day, her creations draw lots of interest from customers, and her father finally recognizes Dora's creative talent. In particular, Dora's scarf is a real hit, and finally Dora is a real designer.

     Patty Gallinger has recreated the garment shop setting beautifully. Her paintings capture the 1940's in soft tones and brush strokes. A nice touch is found in the half page illustrations which have pinking sheared edges.

     A historical note at the back of the book places this story in its historical context, a period with which many children will not be familiar. A good purchase for public and school libraries, My Mannequins could easily be used in classroom units on history/social studies.

 

Recommended.

Catherine Hoyt is the Curator of the Eileen Wallace Children's Literature Collection at the University of New Brunswick.

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

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