Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Amelie and Nanette: Sparkly Shoes and A New Dress by Sophie Tilley (Children's, Picture book, 10/10E)

 September 2013, Bloomsbury, 32 pages, Hardback, Review copy 

Summary from Allen & Unwin (there wasn't one on the Bloomsbury website)
Amelie and Nanette are best friends, and have been FOREVER. Because there is nothing nicer than having a best friend to share your secrets and adventures with. Everyone will be charmed by the wonderfully nostalgic, delightfully innocent and enchantingly carefree world of Amelie and Nanette. Their lives are rich with adventure, sometimes good, sometimes bad (and sometimes a little sad) but always mixed with laughter. From riverside picnics and seaside capers to cake-baking marathons and dressing-up, there's an adventure around every corner. And, even when things go wrong, there's nothing so awful that their friendship (and a big hug) can't make better.

Nayuleska's thoughts

I've stopped reading this book to get my tablet and write the review as I read. There is so much to talk about in this delight for the eyes and heart. This could be a long review - you have been warned! Uponreceiving the book I emailed the publicist straight away to gush over it...that was just from the cover! The cover has a slightly woven feel to the hardback, which with the detailed drawings in gentle pencil/watercolour does add to the timeless and French feel of the book. I have a French friend and this book is so her style. It's everything cute, girly and chique!

Opening up the book is the title page, which as a sub-title which epitomises the story's nature "Anything  new is something to celebrate!" Personally that is a brilliant outlook to life, one that I alreadyuse a little and hope to have a lot more of in the future. I like the objects above the sub-title because they are important elements of what I've seen in the story already. The way the girls are placed makes me feel like I'm there with them, watching them from not too far away. It's so inviting, not that I need any prompting to start the tale!

I thought the short introduction to the girls, with photos showing what they get up to a great way to start the tale, especially with what is explained on the following page. The background patterns are simple and elegantm a little bit of detail to catch the eye but not so much it detracts from the main focus of the page, Amelie and Nanette.

Nanette is choosing shoes alone. I liked quite a few of them. The way they are shown invited me to
examine them closely like Nanette did, and pick my favourite. Before I saw them close up I liked the pair that Nanette picked, but when I saw they were pointy that was it. I hate pointy shoes. I liked how content Nanette was:it was easy torelate to her joy when I remember choosing my last (rounded) pair of shoes.

Success makes me feel bubbly inside, which Nanette seems to be feeling. I loved Amelie's dress! It is breathtaking. I liked how the flowers used to frame the girlson their introduction page acted as a bower to display the friends' new purchases.

When the girls prepare the food for the picnic there is a cute dog beneath the table with a rounded
tummy-I suspect he has eaten some treats! I squeed over the accessories the girls chose for their outing because the petticoats reminded me of some Winx outfits Flora and Musa wear.

The journey to the picnic gets across the realism of the story, as there is an issue which readers will
be able to relate to. Again I loved how the scene was across the two pages, with a single illustration to one side framed with flowers - this isstyle is used in other pages. The flora in the friends' special place compliments their outfits. My eyes zoned in on the birds in the tree, who are sweet!

There is no doubting the depths of the girl's friendship watching them play and have fun. They ork as
a team, each going off to do a task, as well as working together to combat an unwelcome visitor who
comes and causes chaos. The girls are a little upset because at the centre of the chaos is one of their new purchases, but the worst outcome doesn't happen thanks to a plot twist. However, the solemness of the girls as they worry about what their mothers will say is the direct opposite of how they are at the start of the story Guess what - there are more illustrations with flowers framing the girls! They stay cute even when they are sad. Their reluctance to go home is portrayed clearly in their posture and expressions as they pack up the picnic.

Thankfully they aren't sad for long. The final scene with the girls in is full of joy, I like how the
background is kept mostly white, so the focus is on the girls' outfits, with a few pretty butterflies and
some flowers and grass too. I went aww at every page in this book which relies on the strength of the girls' friendship to get them through the rough patches, and to have so much fun!

Find out more about Sophie's desgns on her website.

Suggested read
Since this is the first Amelie and Nanette book I can't suggest another in the series, but Sophie has written another mega cute series about a princess and her magical horse. Try Princess Evie's Ponies: Diamond the Magic Unicorn (Children's, Picture book, 10/10) 

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