Wedding Dress Mess

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A seamstress loves a mechanic in Masini's (A Brave Little Princess) piece of Italian whimsy, but Filomena's big ideas about wedding gowns come between them. With her long, rubbery neck and a mass of black hair tied back with red ribbons, Filomena sews brilliantly for her customers but dreams in secret of her own splendid wedding gown. Filippo ("How tenderly he oiled the gears in Filomena's sewing machine"), meanwhile, summons his courage and proposes, but soon discovers that Filomena cares more about constructing her gown than she does for him. Artist Cantone (the Zara Zebra series) scatters rubber stamps, dotted lines, painted-over photographs and scraps of newspaper around her google-eyed figures, framed by graph paper and tape measures. Her witty images and cartoonish antics will tickle younger readers, and the sophistication of the compositions will divert adults. In the climactic spread, Filomena appears, almost hidden in a sea of lace; onlookers at the wedding snicker ("Is that thing a wedding dress or a wedding cake?"), and Filippo bolts. As Filomena takes off after him, shedding her finery ("She hustled out of her bustle"), Cantone covers the page with a road for her to run along, marked with spaces like a board game ("chicken crossing, lose a turn"; "a wedding gift, advance 3 spaces"). Filomena's story offers a charmingly offbeat setting for the lesson that love beats all. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The wedding dresses of Filomena, the "finest seamstress in Italy," are, of all her creations, "the icing on the cake." While she is sewing wonderful gowns for others, Filomena is thinking of the wedding dress she would like to make for herself. Meanwhile, across the piazza, the man who fixes her sewing machine is dreaming of her. When Filippo finally proposes, she begins work on her masterpiece. It leaves her no time to spend with him, so he longs only for the wedding. Unfortunately, Filomena goes too far. The overdone dress makes everyone laugh as Filippo flees in panic. Luckily she realizes in time what is really important, throws off the elaborations, and manages to bring him back for the happy ending. Cantone's sketchy, cartoon-y combination of collage materials brings a madcap sensibility to the visual tale, from the busy heroine amid her dresses on the jacket through the beginning end-papers of the birds eating rice, with a note that "some people throw bird seed" to the back end-papers of the happy couple. Filled with imaginative bits of advertisements, fabrics and wild designs with words in both English and Italian, the double pages zip along, infecting us with their fast-paced, light-hearted romanticism. Loads of fun along with a message of what really matters. 2003 (orig. 2002), Watson-Guptill Publications, Ages 4 to 8.
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-In this comical yarn, Filomena, the finest seamstress in Italy, has been imagining the design of her own wedding gown for a long time. When the love of her life finally pops the question, her answer is, "I'll start on my wedding dress right away." Each time Filippo comes to call, Filomena is holed up in her sewing room, obsessed. On the big day, the bride arrives in a "blizzard of white silk-" and scares the poor groom out the church door and onto his motor scooter. Filomena kicks off her high heels, hustling after him. Here Cantone cleverly renders the scene as a game board through the city. This entertaining romp is animated with lively, humor-packed collages made from cloth, trim, photos, magazine cutouts, paint, ink, newspaper, and wallpaper. The hilarious caricatures are matched perfectly with the story's droll turn of phrase and jaunty pace.-Be Astengo, Alachua County Library, Gainesville, FL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A zealous seamstress very nearly misses out on her own wedding when she places the emphasis on her dress, not the occasion. It makes perfect sense that the "finest seamstress in Italy" would have ambitious dreams for her own wedding dress. Indeed, "Whenever Filomena stitched a wedding dress, she'd get a dreamy look on her face. 'If this were my wedding dress,' she'd sigh. . . . " So when Filippo, the fix-it man across the plaza finally works up the courage to propose, Filomena happily accepts and starts in on her dress, leaving Filippo to his own designs. When the dress is finally finished, it is such an overdone horror that Filippo flees the altar, prompting Filomena to realize that she's lost sight of what is really important about a wedding. Cantone's (Zara Zebra Counts, not reviewed, etc.) mixed-media illustrations feature elongated, almost conical line-and-watercolor characters (each with a distinctly pronounced and delicately rouged nose) against wild backgrounds that mix collage elements with free-floating text (in English, for the most part). The wild-eyed Filomena and Filippo have a definite zany appeal, as does the spread in which a fleeing Filippo rides his scooter along a nuptial game-board path, a de-frocked Filomena in full pursuit. Hort's translation, too, has considerable tongue-in-cheek zip: "She hustled out of her bustle." But there's something missing in the story itself: while little girls may have a fascination with weddings, the narrative has a distinctly adult sensibility. Filomena's essential mistake-her preoccupation with preparations to the exclusion of her fiancé-is not one children will likely be able to relate to. This energetic Italian import may make a goodgag gift for engaged couples-but not so great for its intended young audience. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823017386
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/5/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 8.26 (w) x 11.58 (h) x 0.31 (d)

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