Here’s my entry for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!
There is more tongue-in-cheek fact-stretching in Levi Strauss Gets a Bright Idea than you can shake a pair of Levis at, but it’s sooo much fun, you just don’t care. The author gives you the real low-down about the origins of Levi jeans in the back matter. The rest is pure, ah, fabrication. Take a look!
The voice SCREAMS at you from the first sentence. This is what makes agents and editors turn the page and keep reading:
“GOLD!” somebody yelled. Next thing anybody knew,
the whole world rushed to California and
started digging up the place. The trouble was,
they rushed so fast, they lost their pants.
Well, they didn’t exactly lose them. The pants
just disintegrated. They were that flimsy.
Corduroy, wool tweed, flannel, burlap, velvet, worsted,
serge: they didn’t last long in the gold fields. Right quick
they got worked down to the size of a handkerchief.
Soon, every miner was sluicing for color in his long johns—
or naked as a jaybird. Yessir, all of California was mining
in the vanilla.
Filled with juicy language like “gnashing their clashers” and “rattling and racketing and rolling,” and coupled with illustrations painted on old jeans, this book’s a sure fire winner! If you want to do a craft with the kiddos, I’d suggest painting those ol’ blue jeans. Just make sure they’re the original Levi’s, OK?
Title: Levi Strauss Gets a Bright Idea
Author: Tony Johnston
Illustrator: Stacy Innerst
Year: 2011 (Yes, I know it’s not new, but it’s new to me!)
Ages: 3-8 yrs