Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Here Comes the Bride

Tundra Books
Beatrice Masini; Illustrated by Anna Laura Cantone

Filomena is a very talented excellent seamstress who is able to whip up nearly anything under the sun. Although she can create any look, her absolute favorite projects are wedding dresses. Because of her ability to listen closely to each bride, every engaged woman in town wants Filomena to create her gown. She turns their dreams into dresses - under Filomena's steady hands they can emerge as beautiful princesses, dainty fairies or glamorous movie stars!

Working on wedding dresses day in and day out fills Filomena's head with lace, silk and bows. Better than anyone else, she knows what a dress needs to turn every head in the church. While she works, Filomena dreams of her own wedding day. Er, she's not actually engaged .... she doesn't really have a boyfriend. Unbeknowst to Filomena, her dream wedding is much closer than she might think. For next door, a mechanic named Rusty has been loving Filomena for a very long time, saving his pennies for an engagement ring.

When Rusty finally works up his courage to ask his true love for her hand in marriage, his request is immediately accepted. Filomena's eyes light up as she begins to plan her own gown. The illustration here is hilarious, the look of joy is perfectly captured on her face, with her eyes practically bugging out of her head. And so Filomena sets to work on her dress. She works, and works, and works. There is no time to spend with her fiance as she has so much to do on her masterpiece.

The whole church eagerly awaits the bride and her beautiful gown, though no one is as eager as her groom. But when Filomena appears, she was only a giant puff of white with lace and frills, butterflies and tulle. Rusty can not even see the girl he had fallen in love with. He flees the church, hops on his trusty scooter and gets the heck away from that church as quickly as he can. And does Filomena flop down on the ground and cry? No, she is made of stronger stuff than that! She runs right after her groom, her veil streaming out behind her, buttons and bows popping off in the wind.

After a feisty chase, Filomena catches up to Rusty and calms his fears. They return hand in hand to the church. So many embellishments have flown from Filomena's dress that it is now ... simple and elegant. It fact, it is the most beautiful dress she has ever made and all her guests are stunned.

Illustrations from Anna Laura Cantone are always just glorious. Bright colors, intricate patterns, and plenty of fun details to catch your eye on every page. This is a beautiful, wonderful book that will capture the heart of any little girl who dreams of her own wedding day. But a nice practical ending that will appeal to parents who pay for those weddings.

Check out a very nice interview with illustrator Anna Laura Cantone here at Children's Literature. Her advice to parents to foster creativity: "Push children to use lots of imagination. Use everyday materials and recycle things to create something new. That allows all of us to be free to try something new and different. If you use expensive materials you are going to be afraid to try for fear of wasting precious materials."

Review copy provided by Tundra Books.

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