Isabelle Ashley Parker McBride is a girl who loves to make a statement. She extravagantly coordinates her costume to her occupation of the moment, from wearing something bedecked with a fried egg for a trip to the diner, to a bread-topped hat out to feed the ducks. Isabelle Ashley is thrilled when she receives an invitation to be a flower girl at Dora's wedding. There is only one problem, Isabelle Ashley has to wear the standard flower girl attire, just like all the other flower girls. In despair, she seeks out the advice of similarly flamboyant Aunt Savannah who teaches Isabelle Ashley that there is a time and a place to stand out. Isabelle Ashley is an engaging heroine and the book's illustrations are light and whimsical. At first the book's message bothered me a bit, but after some rumination, it seems a good one. Most girl books that attract me have at their core, a message of empowerment, but this book is subtler, dealing with figuring out when conformity is okay and the appropriate situations in which to express your own style. 2005, Carolrhoda Books, Ages 5 to 8.
PreS-Gr 1-Isabelle Ashley Parker McBride has an outfit for every activity. She's "in rare bloom" for a trip to the flower shop. She's "looking dishy" at the diner. And she always likes what she sees in the mirror. However, when she's asked to be a flower girl and told what to wear, her exuberance and individuality are quashed. Aunt Savannah understands and steps in with sage advice. It's "fine to have a style all your own, but the trick is knowing when to have it." The girl complies for the duration of the ceremony, but at the reception, she once again dons her own design. Friedman's light touch whirls and twirls throughout the story. Watts splashes the pages with predominately pink watercolor-and-ink cartoon sketches that are reminiscent of the 1960s to show Isabelle's flare for fashion to a tee. The child's dog, often wearing a hat, is an important accessory. A fun bit of fluff for fashion-focused girls.-Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.