The Spectacular Suit (Kat Patrick, illus by Hayley Wells, Scribble)
Parties can be extremely important for children. Especially for Frankie, the protagonist of The Spectacular Suit, who has never asked for a party before. With everyone in her class coming, everything has to be perfect. The only thing left to organise is Frankie’s outfit. She hates all three of the dress options. She doesn’t want to wear her favourite sweater. She wants to look spectacular in a suit—a suit that takes you places, with lightning bolts and stars and style. But such a spectacular suit can be a hard thing to find, or to ask for. From Kat Patrick, author of Doodle Cat and Howl, comes a gorgeous picture book about the nervous joy of expressing yourself through clothing and the strength that comes with family support. Finding the perfect look (especially one with such strong Bowie vibes) for your own party can be incredibly empowering, and The Spectacular Suit also plays with gender in the same, delightful way that children do. Artist Hayley Wells’s picture book debut is warmly illustrated in a limited colour palette, creating a cohesive story world. The reader can really see the joy on Frankie’s face as she daydreams about her spectacular suit. While this story is a great one for sharing with children from the age of three, when the desire to choose your own outfit really begins to take hold, it could be perfect for those well into primary school, when individuality and identity begin to take on more significance.
Michael Earp is an author, children’s literature specialist and the manager of The Little Bookroom.