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The prince and the dressmaker
2018
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Summary

Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride--or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia--the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian's secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances--one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone's secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.

This title has Common Core connections.

Trade Reviews
School Library Journal Review
Gr 6 Up-Set in France, this work of historical fiction centers on Frances, a lowly dressmaker in a shop. A wayward teenager commissions Frances to fashion a dress that will make her "look like the devil's wench." She complies, and her creation catches the eye of a mysterious wealthy benefactor, for whom she is hired to work exclusively. Her patron is Prince Sebastian, who is mortified by his predilection for occasionally wearing dresses. Frances encourages Sebastian to be himself, and together the two create Lady Crystallia, the most fabulous fashion icon Paris has ever seen. In this well-crafted coming-of-age story, both Frances and Sebastian struggle to understand themselves and to embrace their identities. There's a hint of romance between Frances and Sebastian, but the emphasis is on their friendship. Wang doesn't dive deeply into Sebastian's sexual or gender identity, instead focusing on the message of self-acceptance. As Sebastian puts it, "This is who I am. I'm a prince who likes to wear dresses." The full-color artwork is gorgeous, featuring a variety of over-the-top dresses that fashionistas will envy. Facial expressions and the overall movement of the art enhance the enticing narrative; fans beginning to age out of Raina Telgemeier and Victoria Jamieson will find a new favorite in Wang. VERDICT With inviting illustrations and a relatable story line, this tender tale of friendship and identity is sure to delight even readers who aren't fans of the graphic novel format.-Ellen Conlin, Naperville Public Library, IL © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Frances, a seamstress living in Paris at the turn of the century, causes quite a stir when she designs a daring, avant-garde ballgown for a count's daughter, who blithely asks to be dressed like the devil's wench. Though the countess is displeased, her daughter is enchanted, and so is the crown prince, Sebastian, who immediately hires Frances with an unusual request: he wants her to make him a wardrobe of bold, glamorous gowns. Secrecy, of course, is paramount, but Frances loves having the freedom to design the dresses of her dreams, which are making quite a name for the prince's au courant alter ego, Lady Crystallia. Wang's buoyant, richly colored artwork beautifully envisions Frances' designs against an already captivating background. It's not that the de rigueur fashions are ugly or boring rather, everything is beautiful but Frances' ensembles stand out stunningly. As Lady Crystallia gains notoriety, and Frances gets closer to meeting her idol, a designer of ballet costumes, elements of Frances' designs trickle subtly into the wider fashion world. But fame brings attention, and Seb's worries about being exposed surpass his loyalty to his friend. Though the conclusion is perhaps too rosy given the suggested time period, that's an easy quibble to forgive, thanks to the gorgeously dense artwork, lively sense of movement, effervescent fashions, sweet romance, and heartwarming denouement.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2018 Booklist
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