“So I asked my mama, Mama, dear….
And SNIP, SNIP, sew sew… New skirt, hello!” – I Had a Favorite Dress
“Tom was so pleased that he wore that bow-tie in sunshine and in snow, in rain and wind. He ran and jumped and splashed and rolled in it.” – The Blue Coat
Regular readers know that I am working hard to pass on my passions for creative sustainability to my kids. Crafty Cora‘s lessons started early as we used her 3-6 month old clothes to create new fashions for her (mostly-handed-down from big sister Rosa) baby doll collection. Recycled dolls, upcycled clothes. Double win.
This week we happened to bring home a book from the library that helps support this message. Upon reflection, I realized I Had a Favorite Dress (Ashburn & Denos, 2012) wasn’t new to us. It follows the same trajectory we’d read a million times before as the Yiddish song-turned-story told in Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (Taback, 1999) and “The Blue Coat” (Lupton & Fatus, 2001). You can find the latter in a collection called The Story Tree: Tales to Read Aloud which I wrote about last week.
Here’s how it always goes down: Character X has a piece of clothing s/he loves more than anything. Said article gets worn out and X is very sad. Someone helps X to salvage the garment by turning it into something new. X loves the new item and wears it ’til its threadbare. And the cycle continues a few times. Each time, a refrain like those at the top of this post repeats, pulling the reader through the story as if by needle and thread. In the end, X is left with nothing to wear, but a beautiful story to tell about how how to find new uses for old things.