AUTHOR: Kyo Maclear
ILLUSTRATOR: By Julie Morstad
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins, 2018
JACKET FLAP: As a little girl in Rome, Elsa Schiaparelli was told she was not pretty. What is beauty? Elsa wondered as she grew older. So she sought out beauty around her and found it everywhere, in colors and scents of the Rome flower market, in the garden, and in the attic of her family home, buried in a chest of old dresses. She found affection from her dear uncle in Milano.
"Voliamo," said Uncle Giovanni. "Let's fly!"
And Elsa did fly! "Schiap," as she later called herself, developed an artist's eye and imagination. These bloomed in wildly imaginative dresses, hats, shoes and jewelry that made her an important name in fashion. Defining beauty on her own creative and rebellious terms was the key to Elsa Schiaparelli's happiness and success and is still seen today in her legacy of wild imagination. Daring and different, Elsa Schiaparelli used art to make fashion and it was quite marvelous.
NOTES: This book really appealed to my artistic nature, from the title -- a suggestion to bloom, to the topic - a fashion designer and the pleasing chaos of the flowery cover. Elsa presented a flawed main character, which most of us would be able to identify with, as we all lack perfection in one way or another. Being a disappointment was an issue she dealt with during her life, even from the onset, when she was not the boy that her parents had longed for.
I enjoyed the colors, shapes and smells of the palazzo and the piazza and the flavorful words woven throughout, like canella, melone, fiori, Milano and more. I feel for the main character each time I hear the word brutta ("ugly"). I cheered that she made a name for herself and finally set herself free from what he parents and sister thought.
It has such an important message:
To the women I inspire, and the women who inspire me, and the girl I was, who once felt so ugly that she planted seeds on her face. All of us together: We BLOOM and BLOOM.
My rating: 5 out of 5 Peas
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Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten - illustrated by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic, 2011), Hedgehog's 100th Day of School – illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic, January 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play -- illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books, 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares -- illustrated by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling, pending) and Let's Eat! Mealtimes Around the World -- illustrated by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books, 2019). You can learn more about her at www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com
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