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Review: Zoe Gets Ready

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Looking for new books to share with your child? Check out the book review below! Each week we bring you the latest reviews of books geared toward children in grades K-5 from the creators of "Sweet on Books", a locally-based initiative with reviews written for you exclusively by mothers, as part of our ABC7 Learning Section Enjoy!

Title: Zoe Gets Ready

zoegetsready250 Author/Illustrator: Bethanie Deeney Marguia

Themes: Excellent Read Aloud, Identity, Imagination, Independence, Self-Awareness/Discovery

Published: 2012, 40 pages

'Sweet' book summary:
Reviewer: Melissa G.

Zoe Gets Ready packs a lot of energy and value into a 40-page picture book. It is the perfect combination of a thoughtful story and wonderful visuals. It can be fun to express yourself with what you wear, and Zoe does just that! Clearly, though, there is a lot more going on inside Zoe's head, and that is what makes this book exceptional.

Saturday is Zoe's big day because she gets to choose her own clothes. Zoe searches through her things while she tries to decide what kind of day she's going to have and, therefore, what she should wear. The story shifts back and forth between Zoe's room and the outdoors, as she imagines different scenarios and tries on different outfits. Zoe calmly goes through her closet, almost unaware of her little sister who peeks in, watches, imitates and follows along, even in the scenes that take place in Zoe's imagination. Meanwhile, her mom yells in from off the page with warnings like, "I hope you're not making a mess in there." All of these elements add dimension and life to an otherwise simple story.

Readers will easily connect with Zoe who seems to embrace life with her positive attitude. With its glittery cover and countless dress-up options, Zoe Gets Ready incorporates concepts that fascinate most little girls, but it does so without being at all commercial. In addition, Zoe appears to have a variety of interests, so despite the fashion theme, she doesn't seem to be too much of a "girly" girl.

I can't say enough about the illustrations, which I absolutely adore. The colors are lively and cheerful, there is movement on every page, and the action is seen from some unexpected angles. The words and the motion flow off the pages and keep them turning. I especially love the images of Zoe swinging in her flowing red scarf, the little sister wearing Zoe's pants as a hat and the butterflies that reassuringly appears throughout the pages.

Zoe takes the concept of dressing up beyond just looking pretty, and she captures the moods and emotions that inspire our clothing choices. Whether it's a day for whirling, collecting treasures, cartwheeling, exploring, standing out, or blending in, Zoe seems content, and her final clothing choice will leave readers smiling and content as well. As we like to say in our house, "Every day is a good day." and that's just how Zoe makes readers feel.

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What You Need to Know:
  • Getting to pick out her own clothes is a special treat for Zoe, but making the big decision is a challenge.
  • Zoe is a sweet little girl with a wonderful, carefree spirit.
  • Zoe's little sister quietly accompanies her throughout the story.
  • There are lots of fun details in the illustrations.
  • Bethanie Deeney Murguia is also the author of the very special, Buglette the Messy Sleeper.
If you liked this book, try:
  • Ella Sarah Gets Dressed by Margaret Chodos-Irvine
  • The Queen of France by Tim Wadham
  • Chloe, Instead by Micah Player
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