DRESSES OF RED AND GOLD by Robin Klein

DRESSES OF RED AND GOLD

Age Range: 10 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Ten more telling episodes concerning the four Australian sisters introduced in All in the Blue Unclouded Weather (1992). With elegant, orderly Grace studying dressmaking in the city, the focus here is on tomboy Cathy--single-mindedly devoted to working on her treehouse or outwitting the neighboring toughs--and on wily, imaginative Vivienne, the youngest. In each of the linked stories, Klein plays with ironies created by her gifted but flawed, intensely realized characters' different perceptions of events. Cathy, an unwilling bridesmaid, escapes when she gets tar in her hair; Vivienne, pining for the role, now pretends she doesn't want it in order to manipulate Cathy into doing her chores. Often the reversal of emotions is bittersweet--after scrimping and conniving to buy a carnival doll, Vivienne gives it to a child even needier than she is in a magnanimous/self- righteous ``Act of Luminous Goodness,'' then goes home to weep for her loss; and in the end, when Grace confides in next-oldest Heather, she astonishes her envious but admiring sister with her determination to escape their small town forever. The Mellings' poverty is less emphasized than previously, and the strains in the family fabric are more in the background; but the schemes and shenanigans of these vibrant, tenacious characters are as lively and funny as ever, their more poignant feelings as skillfully suggested. A fine sequel. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-670-84733-X
Page count: 178pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1993




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