Saturday, 25 July 2015

Different Like Coco: A Different Kind of Picture Book

A Review By: Amelia
I’ve never really cared about Coco Chanel because I have little interest in fashion and, honestly, she always came off as an icon that was more harm than good to idolize. Why I decided to read a short, children’s story biography on her given this, I’ll never know. But I did and I’m glad I did!

Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel was always different, and she vowed to prove that being different was an advantage! Coco shows just how far a person can come with spunk, determination, and flair.

The author and illustrator and Different Like Coco is Elizabeth Matthews who made her chic picture-book debut with this lively look at a legendary woman. Says the author-illustrator: “When I look in my closet, it’ s easy to appreciate what Coco Chanel accomplished for herself, for women, for fashion, and, of course, for little black dresses everywhere.” She’s a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design has a passion for fashion.

The art style in Different Like Coco is a simple style that’s more sketchy than complete. They’re like doodles in a notebook and coloured in with subtle watercolours. My one qualm with the art is that the postures of the people that eventually start wearing Chanel’s designs. They’re slouchy and not elegant at all, it kind of detracts from the overall effect the story is trying to convey. 

The book follows Coco Chanel’s life and career in a shorten version that’s accessible for children and even though Chanel’s career might not be something that everyone strives for, cares about, or even thinks has meaning (I mean, I didn’t before because it’s high fashion and I could care less), I think this book has a lot to teach. It shows that unique is good, determination is great, and finding what you want to do in life is best.

I think the book’s biggest charm is that it’s about a woman who, not only made a career for herself in the early 1900s, but also shaped women’s lives for decades to come after her. She changed women’s fashion and, in so doing, changed women’s perceived roles in life. This book shows children (both male and female) that they don’t have to take what’s handed to them in life and that’s that! Be a free spirit, demand equality, and do what you love without hesitation!

My final thoughts on Different Like Coco are that it’s an interesting little picture book that shouldn’t be passed over just because it’s about a fashion designer. It’s a unique book about a unique subject and it’s worth a read.

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