Growing Bookworms Newsletter: May 21
Good night, laila tov: Laurel Snyder & Jui Ishida

Zoe Gets Ready: Bethanie Deeney Murguia

Book: Zoe Gets Ready
Author: Bethanie Deeney Murguia
Pages: 40
Age Range: 3 and up

5132P-djIWL._SL500_AA300_Zoe Gets Ready by Bethanie Deeney Murguia is the perfect followup to Margaret Chodos-Irvine's Ella Sarah Gets Dressed (about a preschooler exerting her fashion-independence). Zoe Gets Ready is the ideal book to have on hand as your young fashionista gets a little bit older.

Zoe Gets Ready features young Zoe, perhaps 4 or 5 years old, and her toddler sister. Their mother, not seen until the end of the book, keeps calling out for Zoe to hurry up and get dressed. But it's Saturday, the one day that Zoe can completely choose for herself (unlike school days, rainy days, and soccer days). Will it be "a cartwheeling day" or "a twirling day, a dizzy, whirling day"? These, of course, call for completely different outfits. Really, the outfits evoke completely different aspects of Zoe's multi-faceted personality.

The text, while upbeat, is largely beside the point. This is a story that is told through Murguia's pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations. Images alternate between Zoe's imagined plans for the day and the ever-growing chaos of her bedroom. My favorite is a bird's eye view of Zoe having a "blend-in" day, perched up high in a tree, wearing a green shirt, with a crown of leaves and flowers in her hair.

Zoe's little sister (who bears a resemblance to Buglette, from Murguia's earlier book, Buglette: The Messy Sleeper) is shown on every page, clearly wanting to be near her big sister, but also happy to do her own thing while she waits. The little sister sometimes foreshadows Zoe's next selected outfit, reaching up on her tippy-toes to pull a particular pair of pants out of a drawer, or grab a scarf. The sibling relationship, while never even mentioned in the text, is perfectly conveyed through the pictures. And I found an image of the little sister, shown from behind wearing a pair of Zoe's pants over her head, to be delightful.

While the two girls, with their round faces and minimalist, cartoon-like features, are not exactly representational, their simplicity allows Murguia to focus on the clothing, and the backdrops, which leap from the pages. There is plenty of detail to the illustrations, too, detail that I believe will reward repeat readings.

Zoe Gets Ready celebrates individuality, imagination, and sisters. I think it would work well for group read-aloud, or for individual reading by kids (especially girls) age 3 and up. The cover is a bit sparkly, too, which will add to appeal for this age range. Recommended!

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (@Scholastic)
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

© 2012 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).