BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Mr. Frank by Irene Luxbacher

Mr. FrankCanadian author/artist Irene Luxbacher found the inspiration for her latest title from her own “childhood memories of watching her father at work in his tailor shop.” That reality clearly infuses her story with heart-warming poignancy, highlighting multi-generational family bonds.

“Mr. Frank was a tailor,” the book begins. Throughout the many, many years of practicing his expertise, “he had made a lot of very special clothes for a lot of very special people.” Today, he’s constructing the most special-est order of his life: he “could not recall ever being more excited to begin his day’s work.”

As he contemplates his ultimate design, he reminisces about the various highlights of his long career: the mended uniforms from 60 years ago, the stylish suits 50 years back, the short skirts and dresses 40 years ago … all the way up to the frilly tutus he constructed some 15 years previously.

In spite of all those creative accomplishments, only today’s order will be “perfect” – soft, light, simple, and durable, too. It would be “[s]o perfect that after sewing the last stitch, Mr. Frank knew there was nothing else he wanted to do.” You must, of course, find out for whom that perfection is planned … and what happens after, because all the best stories always have an ever-after after.

Luxbacher is pure genius, weaving in a half century-plus of fashion history into a glowing celebration of family. Us old folks can’t help but read between the lines: another world war, women’s rights, even a bit of the disco era …! Her exquisite art – a glorious collage of textures, lines, the occasional photo or child’s drawing – seamlessly combines both history and intimacy. Perhaps most memorable of all is that final image – captured from the back, of two seated figures obviously so full of adoration and love for each other – as they silently gaze out the window together: charmed, precious perfection indeed.

Readers: Children

Published: 2014


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