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I Like Old Clothes: Mary Ann Hoberman & Patrice Barton

Book: I Like Old Clothes
Author: Mary Ann Hoberman
Illustrator: Patrice Barton
Pages: 32
Age Range: 5-8

I Like Old Clothes is, just as the title promises, a celebration of the merits of hand-me-down and used clothing. The narrator, a young girl, spends page after page outlining all of the things that she likes about previously-owned clothing. While not a riveting topic, perhaps, this book has two important things going for it.

First, the author is Mary Ann Hoberman (former US Children's Poet Laureate, and author of many many children's books in verse), which means that every page contains a perfect little poem. Like this:

"Clothes that belonged to a friend of a friend,
Who wore them to school when she lived in East Bend.
"You lived in East Bend once, Blue Sweater," I say.
"Just think, you are living in my town today.""


"I like to wonder what they've done,
What games they've played
And if they won,
And if the parties turned out fun." 

Second, I Like Old Clothes is illustrated by Patrice Barton, whose work I loved in Sweet Moon Baby. Barton's pencil sketch and mixed media illustrations make extensive use of texture, making them especially suited to a book about fabrics. She actually weaves clothing-related elements into other parts of the pictures, showing flowers made of buttons, and a sepia tape measure stretching across a floor. On one spread, the siding of the house is rendered in oh-so-gentle plaid. There are as many textures to the book as there are articles of clothing. The little girl is shown rosy-cheeked, muss-haired, and ever joyful, enjoying her wonderful, new-to-her clothing. 

The text of I Like Old Clothes was originally published in 1976 with different illustrations. I haven't seen that version, but this one is lovely. I Like Old Clothes is a 2012 Cybils nominee in Fiction Picture Books. And in fact, it would be a perfect companion to last year's short list title I Had A Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn. I'm not sure how broad the appeal of this one will be, but I do recommend it for readers old enough to have opinions about where there clothes come from, and for anyone who love Hoberman's verse or Barton's pictures. 

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (@RandomHouseKids)
Publication Date: August 14, 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).