A review of Dressing Up the Stars: The Story of Movie Costume Designer Edith Head, a fun new picture book biography by Jeanne Walker Harvey and Diana Toledano. Enter the giveaway below to win one of five sets of the book (perfect for classrooms)!
Note: the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. Also, I partnered with The Children’s Book Review and the author Jeanne Walker Harvey to bring you this review and giveaway. Review opinions are 100% my own.
There are few things that get me more excited than the words: Behind the Scenes! Ever since I was a child, I have loved when the curtain gets pulled back on something and I get to see the full picture. I loved every second of Mr. Roger's famous Crayon Factory episode and I'm still fascinated by the window in Krispy Kreme Donuts that allows me to see exactly how those melt-in-your-mouth donuts are made.
I'm convinced that getting a peek behind-the-scenes adds value to the overall experience of something, which is why I was so delighted by Dressing Up the Stars! I love movies, especially the classics, and this phenomenal picture book biography is a wonderful peek behind the scenes of one of the most important, if not often overlooked, parts of showbiz - the costumes!
I knew absolutely nothing about costume designer Edith Head before I read this book, but her inspiring story is one I won't soon forget!
About Dressing Up the Stars
Dressing Up the Stars begins with Edith Head's childhood near the dusty mines of Searchlight, Nevada. She was a lonely child, but the creativity she was later known for was evident early on. With a bag of scrap fabric and a colorful imagination, Edith transformed the ordinary into something magic as she dressed up her toys, her animals, her friends, and even the cactus near her home.
From the desert of Nevada, Edith eventually made her way to Hollywood where she began her career as a mediocre sketch artist for a movie studio. When she took the job, she didn't even know how to draw! With lot's of practice, trial and error, and hard-earned confidence, Edith worked her way up in the studio until she was designing costumes for famous movie stars.
The book ends as all of Edith's hard work is rewarded one star-filled night when she arrives at the Academy Awards and wins for Best Costume Design.
In the final pages of the book, the author includes a more detailed timeline of Edith Head's life, black and white photographs of her in action, and even one of her sketches for a dress design. I loved finding out that Edith designed costumes for well known actors and actresses like Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief, Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby in White Christmas. She had a long and illustrious career and went on to win 8 Oscars, more than any other female Oscar winner in history! Her designs defined the style of an era.
Review of Dressing Up the Stars
This book is so much fun and I loved the behind-the-scenes look at a famous Hollywood Costume Designer! Edith Head, with her determination and hard-work, is an inspiring role model for kids and I'm so glad they can get to know her in Dressing Up the Stars. With short engaging text and detailed colorful illustrations, the book is very kid-friendly and serves as a perfect introduction to Edith Head.
What I loved most about the book is how Jeanne Walker Harvey does a particularly keen job of highlighting Edith's success within the context of her failures. She is laughed at by her boss, she is spit on by a camel, she is almost fired by a movie director. By the end of the book, Harvey has made it very clear to young readers that Edith's big win at the Academy Awards is the result of her own resolve and character. It's both a wonderful message and a very engaging story.
As with all great picture books, the illustrations in Dressing Up the Stars are the icing on the cake. I was charmed by all of the details on every page - the patterns on the floor and curtains of the movie theater, the colorful designs on the shop awnings lining the streets of Los Angeles, and most especially, all of the costumes! You'll want to read the book twice - first for the story, and then again so you can really take in all of the beautiful art by Diana Toledano.
After I read this one with my kids, they went to Google and found this article from The Cut that shows all of Edith Head's most famous designs - it's always a good sign when a picture book biography inspires kids to want to learn more!
Dressing Up the Stars is an excellent picture book biography. Highly recommend!
View Dressing Up the Stars on Amazon | Publisher: Beach Lane Books | Ages 3 – 8 | 40 Pages | Release Date 9/20/22
Learn more about the author Jeanne Walker Harvey at www.jeanneharvey.com
Learn more about the illustrator Diana Toledano at www.diana-toledano.com
Enter the Giveaway
Enter for a chance to win a set of five copies of Dressing Up the Stars: The Story of Movie Costume Designer Edith Head!
Five (5) winners receive:
A set of five copies of Dressing Up the Stars: The Story of Movie Costume Designer Edith Head