Underwear: What We Wear Under There by Ruth Freeman Swain, John O'Brien |, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Underwear: What We Wear Under There

Underwear: What We Wear Under There

by Ruth Freeman Swain, John O'Brien
     
 

With uproarious illustrations by John O'Brian, Ruth Freeman Swain sets out to discover the truth behind this curious topic. A time line is included.

Underwear. It can be practical, it can be lucky, it can be just plain bizarre. And just one mention of the word can make you giggle or blush. But if you really want to laugh out loud, take a step back in time

Overview

With uproarious illustrations by John O'Brian, Ruth Freeman Swain sets out to discover the truth behind this curious topic. A time line is included.

Underwear. It can be practical, it can be lucky, it can be just plain bizarre. And just one mention of the word can make you giggle or blush. But if you really want to laugh out loud, take a step back in time and check out what people in past centuries used to cover up "down there." Women in the 18th century wore underwear that made their hips look six feet wide! In the 19th century you could buy underwear that opened and closed in the back.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
The history of underwear is presented from its beginnings as breechcloths which covered the private parts of Native Americans through the use of adult diapers used by astronauts for launch and reentry. The narrative is both historical and global. Loincloths used by ancient civilizations and those in current use in India and Japan are included. A progression of hoop skirts, corsets, and pantaloons eventually morphed into women choosing to wear more comfortable bloomers or even pants. Underwear has sometimes become outerwear, as in the case of T-shirts and leggings. Unfortunately, the book does not hold up to the promise offered in the beginning about why people giggle and whisper and joke about underwear. The text is quite dense for a picture book and, although it has a somewhat chronological order, it skips around in confusing ways. The cartoonish illustrations are funny but not always directly related to the text. Youngsters hoping to have a good laugh about the taboo subject of underwear may be disappointed. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal

Gr 2-5

This brief picture-book overview sports an energetic writing style and humorous artwork. Swain packs a lot of detail into the text as she quickly and chronologically progresses through a discussion of different types of underwear throughout the ages and how it has accommodated people's lifestyles. Children will find a multitude of interesting historical tidbits: knights wore padded undergarments; women's stockings were made from the first synthetic fabric, nylon, for the first time during World War II. The author also mentions diapers, the recycling and conversion of underwear into cloth for other uses, and research into improvements. The winsome, imaginative illustrations vary in size and are rendered in watercolor over ink. A chronology adds some details not found within the main text. A fun selection for booktalking and a good addition to collections on clothing.-Lynn K. Vanca, Akron-Summit County Public Library, Richfield, OH

Kirkus Reviews
Swain doesn't really delve into her topic, but does provide a snappy general overview that is animated by O'Brien's big, tongue-in-cheek cartoon illustrations. Opening with the rhetorical question "What is so funny about underwear?" she covers the subject chronologically, tracing the evolution of ancient breechclouts to modern disposable diapers, glancing at futuristic deodorizing fabrics, surveying ways that used undies are recycled, then closing with a timeline and a short list of "inside information" sources. The breezy text receives appropriately playful accompaniment from illustrations that depict women drifting from balconies to the floor, supported by parachute-like hoops, and union-suit-clad skaters on a frozen pond. The sense of fun, however, perhaps precludes an accurate rendition of the torture of corsets, indicated in the text but not reinforced by the images. Readers after a little more specific detail will find Kathy Shaskan's How Underwear Got Under There: A Brief History (2007), illustrated by Regan Dunnick, a better fit-though Deborah Nourse Lattimore's more-or-less work-safe pop-up, I Wonder What's Under There? (1998) uncovers the basics better than any. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780823419203
Publisher:
Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
09/28/2008
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.90(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Ruth Freeman Swain is a former nursery school teacher who now writes full time for children. Her previous histories for children include Hairdo!, an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award recipient, and Bedtime!, a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People. A native of Pennsylvania, Ms. Swain now lives in Maine.

John O'Brien's sense of humor has served him well as a cartoonist, illustrator, musician, and lifeguard. His cartoons have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and other publications. He has illustrated many children's books. He divides his time between New Jersey and Florida.

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