Unsinkable Lucile: How a Farm Girl Became the Queen of Fashion and Survived the Titanic
by Hugh Brewster
illustrated by Laurie McGaw
Firefly Books, 2022
ISBN 978-0-2281-0382-0 (hc)
$19.95, 40 pp, ages 8 – 13
Organized chronologically, this illustrated biography of Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon (Lucile) presents her life story starting with a fictional narrative of her days as a young child in Guelph, Ontario. The text includes titles, subtitles, photographs, illustrations, captions, and excerpts. The non-fiction text is interspersed with quotes from her memoir bringing a liveliness to Lucy’s story uncommon to biographies. Though a poor farm girl, Lucy’s life and experiences allowed her to travel between Europe, Canada, and the United States. She led fashion from 1893 – 1918 in London, Paris, and New York. She survived the sinking of the Titanic. And she introduced the idea of a “Fashion Show” to sell her dresses. In Lucy’s own words, “I have lived my life to its fullest extent… and I am glad to have had the privilege of living.” Thanks to Brewster’s text, young readers can learn about Lucy through this straightforward biography.
Classroom Connections: This book lends itself to a study of biographies or could be a resource for a research report. It also contains enough facts about fashion and the Titanic to draw reluctant readers or non-fiction lovers into an otherwise little-known part of our history. Reading Comprehension Strategies: Asking Questions, Making Connections, Transforming.
Review by Amanda Parker.
This review is featured in Canadian Teacher Magazine’s 2023 issue.