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The Prince and the Dressmaker
Contributor(s): Wang, Jen
ISBN: 162672363X     ISBN-13: 9781626723634
Publisher: First Second
    OUR PRICE: $15.29  
Product Type: Paperback
Published: February 2018
Annotation: The best-selling cartoonist of In Real Life presents a graphically illustrated fairy tale set in Paris at the dawn of the modern age, where a cross-dressing prince hides his identity as a popular fashion icon and falls for a brilliant dressmaker who knows his secret at the same time his royal parents begin searching for a traditional bride for him to marry. Simultaneous.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Princes; Fiction.
Dressmakers; Fiction.
Cross-dressing; Fiction.
Dewey: 741.5/973
LCCN: bl2018003244
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 12.00" H x 6.25" W x 1.25" (1.35 lbs) 276 pages
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q72811
Reading Level: 4.2   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 4.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): Jen Wang is a cartoonist and illustrator currently living in Los Angeles. Her works have appeared in the Adventure Time comics and LA Magazine. She recently illustrated Tom Angleberger's Fake Mustache. Her graphic novels Koko Be Good and In Real Life (with author Cory Doctorow) were published by First Second.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2018 Fall)
Prince Sebastian hires young seamstress Frances as his personal clothier; some days he feels comfortable identifying as male, but others he prefers his dress-wearing alter ego, socialite Lady Crystallia. The teens struggle to keep Sebastian's secret, resist stifling expectations, and sort out their feelings for each other. The graphic novel's illustrations balance the finery of clothing and setting with relatable, endearing protagonists. Dynamic panel shapes and sizes accentuate the emotions of each scene. Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2018 #2)
With a setting and palette reminiscent of Disney's Cinderella and a setup involving a royal ball, this graphic novel has all the trappings of a rags-to-riches romance. And it is one—in a joyfully subversive and inclusive way. Seamstress Frances causes an uproar when she designs an unconventional gown for an unconventional young lady to wear to Prince Sebastian's birthday ball. Just as Frances is about to be fired from the dressmaker's shop, she receives an offer of a position as personal clothier to a mysterious client. The client is soon revealed to be Prince Sebastian himself; as he explains, some days he feels comfortable identifying as male, but other days he feels like a princess. Frances designs the haute-est of ladies' haute couture for Sebastian to wear as his alter ego, socialite Lady Crystallia. As the teens struggle to keep Sebastian's secret, resist the stifling expectations of those around them, and sort out their feelings for each other, tensions escalate between them and between Sebastian and the king. Happily, a dazzling climactic catwalk scene provides opportunities for reconciliation and for the characters' talents—and true colors—to shine. Wang's illustrations balance the finery of the clothing and settings with her relatable, endearing protagonists. Dynamic panel shapes and sizes accentuate the emotions of each scene, whether poignant or triumphant. An author's note explains Wang's process and provides glimpses of the conceptual sketches. katie bircher Copyright 2018 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 December #2)

A talented seamstress and a prince with a secret will win readers' hearts in Wang's utterly charming graphic novel, which is set in a playfully tweaked version of 19th-century Paris and highlights identity, acceptance, and fashion. After creating a scandalous dress for an attendee of Prince Sebastian's 16th birthday party, Frances—an overlooked seamstress with big dreams—accepts a position as personal seamstress for a mystery client. She soon discovers that her employer is none other than Prince Sebastian, who wants her to create dazzling gowns for Lady Crystallia, Sebastian's alter ego, who quickly becomes a fashion icon. Despite Frances's connection with Sebastian, she worries that being part of the prince's secret is limiting her dreams of finding success as a designer. The relationship between Frances and Sebastian—both as a conflicted prince and the glamorous Crystallia—glows; Frances understands that Sebastian and Crystallia are two halves of a brilliant whole. "It's weird, I don't feel like Prince Sebastian could lead a nation into battle, but Lady Crystallia could," admits the prince, inspiring Frances to create an armor-themed dress for their next midnight escapade. Frances's daring designs shine in Wang's elegantly drafted and gorgeously colored illustrations, and the irreverently anachronistic approach to the setting provides a lovely and humorous counterbalance to the seriousness of the prince's situation ("Prepare to get your lady groove on," insists the burly, bearded king, who is eager for Sebastian to be betrothed). It's all but certain to deliver grins, gasps, and some happy tears. Ages 12–up. Agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary. (Feb.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2017 December)

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 School Library Journal.