Rose’s Dress of Dreams by Katherine Woodfine Illustrations by Kate Pankhurst

A charming introduction to historical fiction for emerging readers this tale of determination and following your dreams by award-winning author Katherine Woodfine is a delight. The gorgeous illustrations by Kate Pankhurst combine perfectly with the text to create a perfect first chapter book.

Rose's Dress of Dreams

Inspired by the true life story of Rose Bertin, the woman credited with creating haute couture in the royal court of Marie-Antoinette, this is a celebration of determination, imagination and perseverance. As a young girl all Rose thinks and dreams about is dresses. When she draws  pictures of her dream creations she is ridiculed by her family but Rose refuses to give up. More than anything Rose wants to be a dressmaker so she sets off to Paris in the hope that she can make her dreams come true.

This is the author’s first book for these publishers and it is a wonderful addition to the Little Gem series. I’ve long been a fan of this popular series by Barrington Stoke. They are beautifully designed and produced making them hugely appealing to young children. In addition great care is taken by the editorial team to ensure that the stories, written by top authors, are accessible to all readers. The typeface, spacing, paper colour are designed to be suitable for dyslexic children. The bite sized chapters and the wonderful illustrations by Kate Pankhurst ensure that the book does not look daunting or overwhelming for readers still gaining confidence.

This inspirational story is well told and I loved Katherine Woodfine’s use of language, particularly in the descriptions of the dresses and their designs. The mistaken identity episode made me chuckle and I was surprised to learn that this too is based on reality and I think young children will love this aspect of the story. Kate Pankhurst has been a prolific writer and illustrator of books about bold and inspiring women recently and her gorgeous illustrations are simply perfect for this story. They are a real treat and I think this lovely book would be eye-catching on the library or bookshop shelves. The book brings history to life in an enjoyable and interesting way that is just right for this age group.  This would be a brilliant addition to the primary school library.

Truly a little gem of a story and highly recommended for readers of 5+

Thank you very much to Barrington Stoke for providing this copy.

Rose’s Dress of Dreams was published in early April and is available to purchase in all good bookshops or online

I enjoyed this lovely interview with Katherine Woodfine, written to coincide with the book’s publication, about why it’s important to empower children with books.

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