by Armstrong, Jennifer, 1961-

Format: Print Book 1998
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Children's Picture Books j Ea ARMSTRONG
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Children's Picture Books
Call Number  j Ea ARMSTRONG
The somber, hard-working people of an isolated town on the plains ply through life in the drabbest of gray clothes--until, in the linings of their pockets, they begin to discover lavishly embroidered pictures of far-away places, sewn there by a mysterious young woman who has recently arrived and taken up work as the town's seamstress. Exploring these stitched visions--of proud ships and sparkling oceans, of golden towers and distant cities, of buccaneers, sea serpents, and gold--the austere townspeople find themselves transformed. A husband and wife suddenly fall in love again, brightly colored flags appear on rooftops, houses are painted in azure and crimson, dances are held... Pockets is Jennifer Armstrong's tale of people made new by their imaginations, and of the mysterious young seamstress who brings this about. Her luxurious storytelling is equaled by the rich palette and exuberance of Mary GrandPré's illustrations.  
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Ages 5^-8, older for reading alone. Armstrong and GrandPre top the stylishness of their Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat (1993) in this grand, lyrical tale of imagination's transformative power. The story is framed in nautical imagery and metaphor. When "a slim schooner of a woman, driven by strong winds and a broken heart," fetches up outside a prairie town, the industrious residents take her in as their tailor, on the condition that she make only practical, unornamented clothing. She agrees--but in subtle rebellion begins lining pockets with glorious embroidery of ships and fish, shells, and mementos of exotic ports of call. Soon the townsfolk are learning the names of stars, discussing poetry, dreaming of Constantinople, and, hands in pockets, scanning the far horizons. In GrandPre 's rolling, expressionistic painted scenes, the dusky purple light that falls on dreary buildings and shadowed faces is deepened and enriched by the golden visions that swirl about people's shoulders and fill the sky. In the end, heart healed, the mysterious woman sails off alone through seas of grass, having worked a profound change through hidden means. Like Armstrong's Dreams of Mairhe Mehan (1996), this picture book will need help to find its audience, but the quality of the writing, plus fine contrapuntal interplay between text and pictures, will make the effort well worthwhile. --John Peters"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this text-laden tale, a seamstress, "a slim schooner of a woman, driven by strong winds and a broken heart," lands at the edge of a prairie town where the villagers have no use for her finery. She sheds her travel-worn courtly clothes for a gray dress "as wan and lifeless as a November pond" and begins to mend the townspeople's simple vestments. The woman ornaments the drab clothes she sews by embroidering the pockets with scenes of far-off lands. Soon the villagers stop their toiling to pick flowers, dream and raise colorful flags from the rooftops; the seamstress's work apparently completed, she "[turns] her compass toward her old home, and cast[s] off." The nautical metaphor for the landlocked setting quickly wears thin, and the language seems at odds with the characters ("We are plain and simple folk, and wear only the plainest, simplest habiliments," say the townsfolk). The team behind Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat transform the bland prairie town into a kind of festive medieval walled city, but many questions are left unanswered. Readers may well wonder why the brokenhearted seamstress initially came to the town, and why she would return to the source of her pain. GrandPré's artwork, on the other hand, delicately balances the sullen tones of the town with the brilliant colors of the villagers' visions; she festoons the images of exotic times and places with the detailed stitchery of the pocket embroidery that inspired them. All ages. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Tailors -- Fiction.
Sewing -- Fiction.
Imagination -- Fiction.
Publisher New York :Crown Publishers,1998
Edition 1st ed.
Contributors GrandPré, Mary.
Language English
Description 1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
ISBN 0517709260
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