"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Review: A PATTERN FOR PEPPER by Julie Kraulis (C)

Written and illustrated by Julie Kraulis
Release date: August 1st, 2017
Published by: Tundra Books (NY)
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Format: Hardcover, eBook
Format read: Hardcover


Pepper is getting a dress made for a special occasion. It's the first dress that has ever been made just for her, and she wants it to be perfect. But what pattern is right for her?

Pepper is particular, and nothing works at first.
Dotted swiss? Too plain.
Not enough color.
Too glum.

As Pepper learns about each fabric, she finds a reason why it's just not the one. 

Will Pepper ever be able to find the perfect pattern?

Julie Kraulis takes readers on a journey through gorgeous patterns and their origins - from the mountains of Switzerland to the green grass of Scotland - in search of Pepper's ideal pattern. The incredible illustrations make for a dress, a character and a book that are impossible to forget.


It's not often that you come across a children's picture book that has so many amazing unique elements to it - it's soothing storytelling not only gives you the main character's good-natured adventure and are emotionally invested in the outcome, but you will also learn things that you will not soon forget! And when I say "you" I mean whomever is reading the book - whether you're a child, parent, teacher, etc.

In A PATTERN FOR PEPPER, Pepper is in need of a new dress for a special occasion so her mother takes her to their family tailor, who is conveniently named Mr. Taylor - which may have been done purposely for the young reader to remember and relate Mr. Taylor to his job as a tailor, but made me and my boys giggle at the coincidence... Mr. Taylor is determined to help Pepper find the perfect fabric for her dress and introduces her to many patterns - houndstooth, toile, argyle, and many others. With each pattern that is introduced to Pepper, Mr. Taylor explains what the fabric is, or why and how the pattern got it's name - very fun and informative! I've never given much thought to fabric patterns before, and as someone who comes from a long line of maternal seamstresses you'd think I would have known some of these! 

After a few patterns are introduced and Pepper answers as to why none of them would work for her, Mr. Taylor finally finds the perfect fabric for Pepper, and together, they design, cut, piece and sew the dress... in the end, we see Pepper wearing her beautiful new dress to her special occasion and the entire story falls into place... 

The illustrations are unbelievably remarkable - soft pencil drawings, and yet memorable and bold. It is hard to explain, but it is as if the illustrator poured their heart into each and every stroke of their pencil... and considering that this story was inspired by the author's mother and grandmother, I'm guessing that I may be right on this feeling... 

What I loved most about this book is that if you pay attention to ALL of the illustrations, Mr. Taylor's explanations and stories of each pattern and all the little details that one may miss the first time reading, there is underlying story that you can also piece together - and it is the sweetest thing to see how everything in this book ties together so beautifully! Which will make you want to re-read the story, over and over again to feel the love and warmth of it all. 

A definite favorite for those who love to sew, loves clothes, pattern, history or just a thoughtful and engaging story to share with someone they adore!

*A hardcover copy was sent to me by the publisher, Tundra Books, for an honest review.
All thoughts here are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Julie Kraulis

Toronto-based author-illustrator Julie Kraulis is a stop and smell the roses kind of gal who loves to create. Her heritage is rich in clothes-makers - her mother and grandmother are both master sewers - which has inspired a lifelong interest in all things sartorial. While she loves patterns of every kind, her heart belongs to the Herringbone Club: the best place to find a good game of croquet. 

Julie is also the author and illustrator of Whimsy's Heavy Things, An Armadillo in Paris, and An Armadillo in New York

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