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LEVI STRAUSS GETS A BRIGHT IDEA by Tony Johnston

LEVI STRAUSS GETS A BRIGHT IDEA

A Fairly Fabricated Story of a Pair of Pants

By Tony Johnston (Author) , Stacy Innerst (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-15-206145-6
Publisher: Harcourt

A tall-tale version of the invention of blue jeans by a New York peddler who came late to the California gold rush but saw a need and filled it.

Johnston's fanciful embroidery of the scraps of actual facts known about the origins of Levis begins with the report that at the discovery of gold, miners “rushed so fast, they lost their pants.” By the second spread, with miners working in their long johns or, discreetly, “in the vanilla,” listeners will be thoroughly hooked. The humor is broad and the language inventive, yet reminiscent of the times. Panning bits of clothing rather than gold sets the miners to “gnashing their clashers.” “Dang!” says Levi Strauss. Later, everyone has been outfitted with a new set of tent-fabric pants but refuses to take them off to wash them: “The whole of California stank….” Strauss obligingly sells them all a second pair. This humorous text is set on double-page illustrations painted with acrylic on old blue jeans whose texture shows through. Seams become part of the picture, the base of a covered wagon or, later, the Golden Gate Bridge. Strauss and his brothers are easily distinguishable from the full-bearded miners. An author's note provides some actual facts to distinguish them from the “pure-dee fabrication.”

A “pure-dee” delight for storytime. (Picture book. 4-8)