My Forever Dress

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A story about sewing, economizing, recycling, and sharing, this book follows a special party dress that a grandmother makes for her granddaughter, who narrates the story. Each year she alters the dress to accommodate the year’s growth, until the narrator decides she can’t keep her dress forever—and so passes it on to her little cousin.

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Overview

A story about sewing, economizing, recycling, and sharing, this book follows a special party dress that a grandmother makes for her granddaughter, who narrates the story. Each year she alters the dress to accommodate the year’s growth, until the narrator decides she can’t keep her dress forever—and so passes it on to her little cousin.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Grandmothers can have a special gift for passing on a handcraft in a way that creates a bond and a sense of heritage for their grandchildren. This book follows the dress a grandmother makes and then adjusts over a few years as the narrator grows from six to ten. The spare text makes it clear that what makes the dress a treasure is the way the young-looking grandmother has involved the child in the sewing process, from picking out the material to consulting on how the beloved older version of the dress can be lengthened. Liz Murphy's paint and paper collages cleverly incorporate scraps of sewing patterns, tape measures, and fabric scraps to carry out the sewing motif. As someone who has found sewing with and for grandchildren a rich experience all around, I strongly recommend this book. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal

K-Gr 4

A girl tells how her grandmother makes her a "special" dress every year. The colorful and cleverly created multimedia illustrations vividly show what's involved: the paper patterns, bolts of fabric, step-by-step process of cutting out material, basting, and using a sewing machine. A delighted youngster dances as her grandmother comments, "Pretty as a princess!" and her mom adds, "A perfect fit!" The child looks over her shoulder into a mirror and smiles as she says, "Thank you, Grandma!" The story goes on to promote recycling: the following year, Grandma says to the now-seven-year-old, "We all need to do our part.... We should use new material only if we have to. You're no wider, just taller, so let's start with what we have and add to it." They add pretty leggings, a new pair of shoes, and a matching belt to extend the use of the garment. And the following year, a spread reveals how the old dress is made new once again, and the gleeful girl informs her friends, "This is my forever dress. I've worn it forever...well, almost forever. Since I was six." Young girls will enjoy this tale about a loving relationship between grandparent and child.-Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA

Kirkus Reviews
A girl's cherished party dress receives striking renovations through Murphy's bright mixed-media collage. As each year passes, her grandmother revamps her favorite clothes, enhanced with pink leggings, green belt and knitted cardigan. When she dons each outfit, the child repeatedly asks readers: "How do I look?" As she learns the value of reusing resources, she hands her beloved dress down to her younger cousin. Patterned fabrics and descriptive papers accentuate the colorful surroundings, adding texture and pizzazz to the family home. The bold art lends cheerful flair to the straightforward narrative, and the cartoon characters, with their wispy limbs and rosy cheeks, exude a youthful energy. Unfortunately, the girl's child-centered voice fails to reflect her maturation. When the story's emphasis turns to recycling material, the child's eager musings create an unnatural effect. "I like my old dress. It's comfy and I want to wear it more. And I like helping the environment." Though the creative focus on fashion excels, the narrative's earnest delivery struggles in its authenticity. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934706459
  • Publisher: Blue Apple Books
  • Publication date: 4/8/2009
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Harriet Ziefert has been making magic with words for many years. She is the author of over 200 books for young readers. A mother of two and grandmother of five, she lives in South Orange, New Jersey.

Liz Murphy was born and raised in England and attended the Kingston Art College, where she majored in graphic design. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in Montclair, New Jersey. Liz has illustrated four other picture books for Blue Apple.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Sew Nice

    This book really helps me turn back the years. I remember how my mother would always be sewing clothes for my sisters and I. When I was about ten-years-old, I started taking sewing classes in our local 4-H club. I sewed all during my high school years and made dozens of outfits.

    "My Forever Dress", by Harriet Ziefert, is about a six-year-old girl and her grandmother. Grandma loves to sew and delights in making dresses for her granddaughter. The book shows the girl picking out the fabric and helping her Grandma with each step of sewing her dress.

    When the girl turns seven, Grandma talks to the girl about saving the earth. She said we should only buy new fabric if we have to. Grandma makes some pink leggings so the girl can wear the short dress from last year and make it look new again. Each year Grandma uses the dress from the year before to make a new outfit.

    I love the mixed-media collage illustrations by Liz Murphy. She uses sewing pattern pieces, fabric, measuring tapes, patterned paper, buttons, etc. to make this story come alive.

    I think elementary children will find this book interesting and entertaining. It is a wonderful introduction to sewing and it also has a strong message about recycling and reusing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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