Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Usborne Historical Sticker Dolly Dressing - Edwardian Fashion by Emily Bone and Simona Bursi (Usborne Books)

With Usborne cornering the market in 'dress up doll' sticker books, it's fantastic to see them also pulling in their reputation for providing brilliant and engaging non-fiction expertise into something that children usually rattle through fairly quickly and never look at again.

Not the case with the Historical Sticker Dolly Dressing range. Here's the chance to have lots of fun with the stickers, but also end up with a fantastic reference book for different eras of fashion.

The Edwardian Fashion edition of the Historical Sticker Dolly Dressing range (we're seriously hoping for a Victorian one, and there's also a fabulous 1920s 'Flapper' era one available) is utterly beautiful and - as you'd expect from Usborne - really nicely presented. Once you've wrestled the sticker spreads from the centre of the book your child can begin having fun dressing the characters in costumes of the period.

Surrounding the main character models, there are tons of facts and figures about the era's trends and fashions. Costumes that were popular for every aspect of Edwardian life (though notably with an emphasis on 'posh' rather than workmanlike stuff, obviously!)

Charlotte worked through the book while we were on holiday, and each double page spread had at least one character on it that Charlotte proclaimed "she'd love to dress like". For younger children it's advisable that adults help with peeling the stickers off, as the costumes are very intricate and sleeves / fine details can be damaged with a bit of careless peeling.

It's also worth reading each sticker sheet thoroughly as some stickers need to be stuck on in a certain order (underclothes, dress, then overcoat for example). I think the only real criticism we had was that the shoes weren't often included in the 'order' stickers needed to be stuck on in, so sometimes we ruined a perfectly good spread by sticking on the shoes last of all when they should've been tucked under an overcoat or longer dress. A tiny tiny criticism but worth mentioning.

For older children though, it's an engaging and brilliant look at fashion history that will undoubtedly make kids want to look into each period in more detail (there are so many brilliant websites out there that have reams of photographs of period costume for reference).

Thoroughly and expertly presented, wonderfully illustrated and a total win for keeping Charlotte engrossed for hours when the weather got too hot to stay outside. Brilliant!

Charlotte's best bit: Boating costumes for the Henley Regatta

Daddy's favourite bit: A really fantastic idea to engage children with history and period dress.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Usborne Books)

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