Review: The Dress and the Girl

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations

Book Title: The Dress and the Girl (Available here)

Author: Camille Andros

Illustrator: Julie Morstad

Publisher: Abrams Books

Publication Date: August 2018

Most Suitable for: Years 2-4

Reviewed By: Jacqueline Harris (@phonicsandbooks), Education Consultant

This is a really beautiful picture book that is one of those books that can be used for KS2 as well as KS1. The illustrations are marvellous and the theme far more complex than might be apparent at first glance.

The girl, who is never given a name, stands for every immigrant who bravely left their homes to set out for somewhere new. In this case she is Greek and the reasons for her departure to America never made clear; but her story is the story of millions who emigrated to the US to start a new life at the beginning of the 20th century. This book joins many on the same subject but is able to stand up on its own merit and adds to the overall picture of those travelling unimaginable distances to create a new life for themselves.

The text captures first the life in Greece and then the US. The story is told in short, simple sentences, with the author unafraid to use complex vocabulary to express the ideas: "But they longed for the extraordinary. Something singular, stunning or sensational.”

In many ways the pictures tell as much of the story as the text; they are exquisitely detailed, and children could spend time just looking at the pages with all the people arriving on the ship, for example, to see how so many people, from all over the world, flooded into the US, in hope of a new and better life.

This book would work really well for children to create their own narrative as it leaves out specifics in the text; for example, the reader only knows they are in the US because there is a picture of the Statue of Liberty. There are also so many interesting subplots in the illustrations and it would lend itself to looking at the stories of all immigrants at that time as well as in the present day.


You can order The Dress and the Girl online or from your local bookshop or library.

Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Jacqueline for reviewing it.


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