I love graphic novels, and when you combine a graphic novel with a fantasy/fairy tale theme, I find that it becomes something that I love so much I don’t even know how to put it into words! There is so much going on in this book to make it so easy to love, and Jen Wang’s incredible talent really stands out and makes this book something out of a dream.
Frances isn’t treated very well at her current job, where she listens to the client and designs a beautiful dress, only to have her boss ready to fire her over it. When someone shows up looking for her and offering her a job as a private seamstress, Frances jumps on it and is led away to a fancy castle to meet who she will be tailoring to.
Except the person who has hired her to design dresses isn’t at all who she was expecting – in fact, it is the prince – Sebastian.
Sebastian enjoys wearing dresses, and has taken some of the queen’s dresses to wear on occasion, but has never told anyone that he does this, for fear of being judged, since he is the prince and his parents, the king and queen, are trying to set him up with a woman to marry and make the princess. However, when Frances meets Sebastian, and starts designing dresses for him, he realizes that they are way too beautiful to not wear out – so he comes up with a new name for himself – Lady Crystallia, and instantly becomes the fashion statement of the kingdom.
Hoping this can be her chance to break into the fashion world as a designer, Frances encourages Lady Crystallia to talk fashion with some of the influential people in the industry, but then the truth will be discovered about Sebastian, and fear over consequences makes things strained between them.
The first thing I noticed about this book and fell in love with it from the start is the charming artwork that Jen Wang has illustrated on each and every page. Each panel is a treat, with so much emotion and beautiful detail being poured into it.
The second thing I loved about this book is the beautiful, heartwarming story that lies within its pages. It’s a fairy tale that is perfect for everyone, with an uplifting message that is perfect for anyone of any age. It’s a story that encourages you to be yourself and to be honest about it. It’s a story that says it’s okay to be a little different. It’s a story that tells you that those who really matter will always love you no matter what. It’s a timely, perfect tale that will appeal to a wide audience.
I chose this panel as my favorite in the entire book, because it’s the first time that the dressmaker, Frances, really gets a good look at Prince Sebastian, learning his true identity and that she will be making dresses for him.
I think this is an important scene because even though she is somewhat surprised, there is no judgement, and she is happy to get to know him and design the dresses that he asks for.
I also love the look of surprise on Frances’ face, as well as the prince’s face. There is so much detail in this panel, and the entirety of their relationship is based on this one moment when Frances learns the truth.
Jen Wang is a cartoonist and illustrator currently living in Los Angeles. Her works have appeared in the Adventure Time comics and LA Magazine. She recently illustrated Tom Angleberger’s Fake Mustache. Her graphic novels Koko Be Good and In Real Life (with author Cory Doctorow) were published by First Second. jenwang.net
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