March 20, 2015

Review: Glamourpuss

Glamourpuss By Sarah Weeks
Illustrated by David Small
Available now from Scholastic Press
Review copy

Glamourpuss lives a live of luxury with her doting owners, Mr. and Mrs. Highhorsen.  But when a relative visits with her dog Bluebelle, a chihuahua who does tricks, Glamourpuss starts to doubt that she really knows what glamor is.  After all, the humans seem to like Bluebelle better.

David Small's art, with its stylized lines and watercolors, echoes old-fashioned illustrations that perfectly suit the glamorous feel.  Sarah Weeks' text contains fairly advanced vocabulary, such as devoted and unbridled and descended.  It was too difficult for my niece to read on her own (at least when it was bedtime and she was tired), but the illustrations help show what the words mean.  The book has a lovely rhythm, and I love that it uses a more sophisticated vocabulary.  I prefer that my niece and nephew ask me what words mean instead of not getting exposed to new ones.

The use of a picture of Theda Bara as Cleopatra on the Highhorsens' television works with Small's art to give the setting a vaguely historical feel.  Like Amelia-Bedelia era.
As for the story itself, GLAMOURPUSS has some nice messages about making friends and standing up for who you want to be.  As a Houstonite, I liked that there was a reference to Houston, Texas.  (Hilariously, my nephew asked me if that meant this was a true story.)  I am a bit concerned about the message it sends about class.  The Highhorsens are clearly rich, and Bluebelle is described as "tacky," which definitely has low class/common connotations.  Bluebelle only becomes acceptable once she adopts Glamourpuss's upper-class behavior.  I did emphasize to my niece and nephew that Bluebelle changed because she wanted to, not because Glamourpuss wanted her too.

GLAMOURPUSS is a pretty quick read.  It does have reread value.  There's lots of little details in the art, including Bluebelle joining Glamourpuss on the end papers at the back of the book.  It might be a hard sell to little boys given the pink and glittery cover, but my nephew liked it well enough.  You don't have to be a specific gender to like cats and dogs!


  1. Sounds like a cute read overall - I'm glad you got to share it with your niece and nephew.


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