Therese Makes A Tapestry - Alexandra S. D. Hinrichs
Step back in time to seventeenth-century Paris with Thérèse, a talented young girl who lives and works at the Gobelins Manufactory, where Europe’s greatest artisans make tapestries and luxury objects for King Louis XIV. Even though girls are not trained on the great looms there, Thérèse practices on a small one at home and dreams of becoming a royal weaver someday.
This charming story follows Thérèse as she carries out an ambitious plan with the help of family, friends, and the artisans of the Gobelins. The intricate craft of tapestry weaving is illuminated, and surprises await Thérèse, her parents and brothers, and even the king himself. Children’s book author Alexandra S. D. Hinrichs here breathes vivid life into a delightful tale full of fun twists and an appealing cast of characters.
Original paintings by award-winning artist Renée Graef playfully illustrate the book, as well as the many steps involved in the creation of the famous Gobelins tapestries, from dyeing wool and making silver thread, to painting and copying the elaborate designs, to the delicate art of weaving.
Thérèse’s fictional adventures are inspired by real people, the actual Gobelins Manufactory, and a beautiful tapestry that hangs today in the J. Paul Getty Museum.
Raise your hand if you grew up reading the original American Girl novels before they got all politically correct and trendy. Yes, I was that annoying third grade girl in her school's library constantly trying to put holds on the next book that I wanted to read and to bug the librarian to make those other kids bring back the books already. Surely they weren't reading them like I was! The American Girl books as of late have really lost a bit of their original charm and I think that's sad because those originals had so much education and history in them, vital for any girl really.
When I received this book in the mail my immediate thought was this is a total throwback to those books. It's rich in history, the illustrations are absolutely amazing, and the story is so well written. The book takes place in Europe and has so many French histories and bits of language, it's so fun to read. The best part? I'm not one for understanding the French language, so the French words sprinkled throughout the book are featured in the back in a glossary. So are some of the "larger" vocabulary are also featured in a glossary at the end of the book, which my daughter and I used during our discussions.
To be fair, this book comes in at 40 pages and I read it with my 8 year old son and 10 year old daughter. Not surprisingly, my son didn't like the book at all and was quite bored. My daughter liked it though it was a little under her current reading level (she's in fourth grade). I think this book is appropriate for a high second grade, third grade reading level. The story is educational especially considering I knew next to nothing about a tapestry factory. But the ambitious Therese has a plan to surprise her father but in order to do it, she has to learn about every aspect of making a tapestry.
Overall? It was a really great book. It's an ode to the original American Girl books and what they had set out to be. If you have a child who adores history, loved those books, or is a bit ambitious themselves, this would be such a great book for your home library! You can find Therese Makes A Tapestry on Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble.