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by Tanya Lloyd Kyi & illustrated by Clayton Hanmer

Age Range: 9 - 13

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-55451-355-0
Publisher: Annick Press

A lighthearted look at the history of everyone’s favorite pants couched as a detention report written by a couple of middle-school pranksters.

With lively language and amusing anecdotes, Lloyd Kyi (50 Burning Questions, 2010, etc.) turns a product history into an engaging romp through time. From denim’s origins as durable material for mid-19th-century work clothes to the celebrity fashions of today, the author traces both our changing clothing needs and outside influences on what we wear. She gives credit not only to Levi Strauss but also to Nevadan Jacob Davis, who came up with the idea of seams reinforced with rivets. Hanmer’s cartoons place skateboarding storytellers JD and Shred in historical venues, but with modern reactions. Appropriately, Shred, a girl, wears skirts until the 1950s. Full-page, full-color cartoons begin each chapter. Smaller ones shaded with blues grace every page. Along with informative sidebars (printed on scraps of denim with the familiar brass rivets and orange stitching), they break up the text into accessible chunks. The inviting design begins with the cover illustration of baggy low-riders. Libraries that have already purchased Tony Johnston and Stacy Innerst’s Levi Strauss Gets a Bright Idea (2011) will also want this for older readers and for its more thorough account.

Humor and information combine in appealing nonfiction for middle-grade and middle-school readers. (further reading, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9-13)