picture book crush: i had a favorite dress by boni ashburn and julia denos

I’m twirling myself silly with delight over this brand new picture book by Boni Ashburn and Julia Denos. It made me wonder if Boni and Julia ever had a favorite dress. More on that in a bit, but for now, let’s try this charming story on for size.

Here’s a girl who love love loves her salmon-colored, striped-bodice, ruffly-skirt dress, wearing it every single Tuesday, her favorite day of the week. But one day, her favoritest dress ever is just too short and she’s beside herself. Mama comes to the rescue, advising that instead of making mountains out of molehills, she make molehills out of mountains. So, with a “SNIP, SNIP, sew sew” — it’s “New shirt, hello!”

Thus begins a series of clever, wholly satisfying transformations. When the shirt becomes too tight, Mama turns it into a tank top, then a more school-appropriate skirt,  a tassely scarf for winter, a pair of cozy socks, and a pretty hair bow. And what happens when puppy shreds the bow into teeny tiny scraps? The girl creates something all by herself that enables her to wear her favoritest dress “every day of every season of every year.” Brilliant!  Continue reading

chatting with margaret cardillo and julia denos about just being audrey

“God kissed her on the cheek, and there she was.” ~ Billy Wilder on Audrey Hepburn

I’m really happy to welcome author Margaret Cardillo and illustrator Julia Denos to alphabet soup today because I love love their new picture book biography, Just Being Audrey (Balzer + Bray, 2011)!

As a lifelong Audrey fan, I was truly excited when I first heard about this book when reading Julia’s fab interview at 7-Imp. At a time when young girls look to celebrities for role models, and when all too often those role models disappoint, it’s heartening to know that now Audrey’s story can be held up as rock solid inspiration.

Distilling Hepburn’s fascinating life into 32 pages must have been a daunting task, but Margaret and Julia have done a beautiful job of presenting significant milestones — from Audrey’s unique childhood in Nazi-occupied Europe, to her rise as an award-winning actress and fashion icon, to the tireless work she did on behalf of the world’s impoverished children as International Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF.


I love how Just Being Audrey captures the essence of Audrey’s grace, elegance, style, beauty, indomitable spirit, and unfailing kindness. She was definitely someone who always remained true to herself, and it’s exciting to see generation after generation, regardless of age or gender, continue to admire not only Audrey’s “movie star” persona, but also the totally unassuming person she was in real life. The more you learn about Audrey, the more you want to emulate her conduct and live by her values. Margaret’s and Julia’s own admiration, enthusiasm and love for Audrey shine through on every page — making this well-written, gorgeously illustrated book an especially good choice for Women’s History Month and a wonderful keepsake for girls (and women) of all ages.

Continue reading