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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Pattern for Pepper, written and illustrated by Julie Kraulis. Tundra Books, Random House. 2017. $21.99 ages 4 and up

"It's Pepper's first time at
Mr. Taylor's, her family's
favorite tailor shop and the
oldest and busiest in town.
A bell tinkles as Pepper and
her mother step into the warm
and cozy store.

"Hello, I'm Pepper, and I need
a dress for a very special
occasion," she says."

Where might Pepper find the perfect dress?  She needs it for a very special occasion.

Her mother suggests Mr. Taylor's shop. Her family loves Mr.Taylor's work, as do many others in town. It is Pepper's first visit. She is warmly welcomed by the very kind tailor. And, she learns a lot from this very special teacher. He makes suggestion after suggestion for patterns that might appeal, all the while explaining the origin of each one.

"What pattern is your suit?"
Pepper asks.

"Ah! This is tartan. It comes from
Scotland and is woven with wool
in checked patterns. Tartan is
used for clothing, hats and even

"Oh, no. Bagpipes are just
TOO LOUD! No thank you,"
says Pepper.

As we read on, we learn the origins of a variety of patterns from around the world. All are described clearly as they wander through Mr. Taylor's inventory. Pepper politely, and with a sure voice, rejects many of the suggestions for personal reasons. Mr. Taylor is ever patient and always hopeful that the two will find exactly what Pepper wants for her special dress. When a decision is made, the two get to work to design, pin and cut the pieces needed to put it together. Once sewn, it's time to try it on. Only then does the audience see what has so attracted the little girl. When her special day arrives, she is proud to wear it for 'tea and croquet' with her grandmother.

Julie Kraulis fills the book's pages with gorgeous artwork done in oils and graphite on board. The textures and design are remarkable. I love that the fabrics provide background for the storytelling and for our learning. The more I pore over the pages, the more impressed I am with the concept for the book and the artist's ability to bring this charming story so successfully to her readers.

This lively, often humorous story is a gem!

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