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The Picture Book Buzz

Dress Like a Girl - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Who hasn't played dress-up as a child? I remember hours spent imagining I was someone else, somewhere else. Whether it involved putting on performances for family, creating elaborate adventures with my siblings, or just trying on roles. As a parent, I created many outfits, incliding an Ewok, Pooh and Tigger, knights, cats, jedis, and even a cow. I also remember the first forays my kids took into choosing their own clothes. These hours of play and experimenting are so important in developing a strong sense of self.

When Patricia Toht announced this title, I couldn't wait to read this book. I was hooked. Then I saw the amazing cover reveal. Oh my gosh! It was with pure delight that I tore open the packaging when this book arrived. And Dress Like A Girl met my expectations and more.

Dress Like A Girl

Author: Patricia Toht

Illustrator: Lorian Tu-Dean

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishing(2019)

Ages: 4-8



Be true to yourself, careers, STEM, rhyming, and humor.


In these beautifully illustrated pages, a diverse cast of slumber party participants considers the most time-honored traditions for how to dress. If a lady should wear white in summertime, then how about donning a spacesuit? If team colors are apropos at sporting events, why not wear helmets and play ball?

Uplifting and resonant, and with a variety of interests ranging from sports to science to politics, this book is sure to inspire any young girl, instilling the idea that the best way to dress like a girl is the way that makes you feel most like YOU!

Opening Lines:

What does it mean to dress like a girl?

Many will tell you in this big wide world

that there are strict rules that must be addressed,

rules you will need when looking your best.

But when you are given these rules to obey,

the secret is heeding them in your own way.

What I Love about this book:

I love the energy and diversity of the characters, as well as the adorable puppy side-kick Lorian Tu-Dean included in the illustrations. And I am humbled by Patricia's ability to do this with a rhyming text.

In a tongue-in-cheek manner, Patricia Toht expresses a number of fashion "rules" and then pokes fun at them or plays with them. For instance, the rule that "on hot summer days the look is crisp white," is followed by an astronaut. Though perhaps not exactly what the fashionistas were envisioning when they stated the rule, Lorian's illustration is delightful.

Text © Patricia Toht, 2019. Image © Lorian Tu-Dean, 2019.

I enjoyed that the rule for suggesting that a "strong statement" is made with "vivid hues" is envisioned as a firefighter, police officer, and a rescue worker (in bright yellow) running through the kitchen. Strong role models in bright colors. Instead of the stereotypical notion behind "sleek swimwear," Lorian depicts two girls in wetsuits, flippers, and snorkeling gear!

Text © Patricia Toht, 2019. Image © Lorian Tu-Dean, 2019.

I have to join Patricia in saying that the arctic explorer is one of my favorite spreads. Those penguin onesies are perfect attire for "dressing warm in the snow." However, the football, umpire, hockey players, and the hard-hatted, tool-totting engineers are pretty darn cute as well.

Text © Patricia Toht, 2019. Image © Lorian Tu-Dean, 2019.

The text and watercolor illustrations beautifully combine to capture the joy of dressing up and experimenting with different professions. All while reinforcing that the person within the clothes is what is most important. And although the illustrations and title feature girls, this book and its message applies to everyone. This book is for anyone who marches to their own beat. Boys, adults, grandparents, and of course girls. All of us can use this message, or affirmation, at least once in our lives - be true to yourself, make your own rules in what you want to wear (a fantabulous hat) and what you want to be (perhaps a magician-policewoman or even a Queenly-knight), and by all means DRESS LIKE A GIRL.

Text © Patricia Toht, 2019. Image © Lorian Tu-Dean, 2019.


- can you think of any other jobs that have unusual clothing?

- describe or draw what you think your ideal uniform would look like.

- what is the strangest outfit you can think of?

- can you create an outfit that is a combination of jobs? A deep-sea knight, perhaps.

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

*(I was provided a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.)

If you missed it, check out my interview with Patricia Toht on Monday (here).

If you are in the area - Dress Like A Girl's launch party will be on Jan 26, 11 am, at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, Illinois! Josh Funk will be there, too, celebrating his book Mission Defrostable.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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