A little, blonde, white girl named Charlotte has only hand-me-down dresses from her older sisters until they work together to create an unusual, new dress for her as a surprise.
Charlotte is the youngest of six daughters in the Bartlett-Kruger family, which lives in an elegant mansion with a white butler, uniformed, white maids, and a pet peacock. Despite the family’s obvious wealth, little Charlotte seems to be the Cinderella of the family as far as her clothing and possessions are concerned. She mends her sisters’ castoff dolls and stuffed animals and wears only one old dress with a patch and boots that need resoling. When the parents decide to have a fancy party, Charlotte is sad because her only choices of dresses are tired and worn outfits offered by her older sisters. After Charlotte cries herself to sleep, her sisters work with the stuffed animals and dolls to combine bits of the dresses with household items. Together they create a lovely ball gown fit for a princess, “made not only of hand-me-down garments, but with sisterly love.” Intricately detailed illustrations impart a fairy-tale flavor to the story, incorporating sumptuous details of the family mansion and the sisters’ many costumes. Though the sisters are totally wrapped up in their wardrobe choices and several elements of the plot require the willing suspension of disbelief, young readers who like fashion design and fairy tales will enjoy Charlotte’s transformation into the budding belle of the ball.
A modern take on the Cinderella story, with kind and loving sisters replacing the mean stepsisters. (Picture book. 3-6)