How to Wear a Sari

Versify/HMH/. Jun. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781328635204.
PreS-Gr 2–Fumbling with knitting needles, spilling garbage from a torn trash bag—an unnamed, aggravated young girl with brown skin and brown hair is feeling too small and inadequate for grown-up tasks. She wants to prove her maturity to her family. Inspiration strikes, although a bit out of the blue. Why not arrive at her family’s party wearing one of her mother’s elegant saris? After choosing the perfect green and yellow sari—not too plain, not too fancy, with the right amount of sparkle—the persistent young narrator demonstrates the step-by-step process of donning a sari. Readers learn that a blouse and petticoat are worn underneath and how to correctly tuck, wrap, and pleat the sari. The look is polished with a stylish brooch, jewelry, and sparkly sandals. Now the challenge will be to walk in those high-heeled sandals to show off her sophisticated outfit at her family gathering. Unsteady and wobbly, the young girl trips, sending food flying across a multigenerational family. On the bright side, the girl can now contribute a hilarious moment to the family’s mishap hall of fame. Khiani’s lighthearted, debut picture book is insightful for young readers unfamiliar with saris, relatable for accustomed readers, and despite feeling choppy and underwhelming in the conclusion, will entertain children. Lew-Vriethoff’s illustrations are lively and fluid, appropriately matching the flowing movement of saris.
VERDICT A welcomed, playful addition to a small selection of picture books available on this traditional attire.

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