I Had A Favorite Dress

Written by: Boni Ashburn

Illustrated by: Julia Denos

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations

I Had A Favorite Dress highlights the importance of resourcefulness and making the best out of seemingly bad situations. Start off by talking about what the story is about and preface it with a discussion about your child's favorite item of clothing.

Make Observations and  Predictions

What do you notice on the cover?

Why do you think that is her favorite dress?

{Flip to an illustration} What do you think is happening in this picture?


What's Your Favorite "Dress"?

What is your favorite piece of clothing? Can you describe what it looks like?

Do you like to wear your ________ everyday or just some days? Which days?


Be sure to use descriptive words like "long-sleeved", "striped", "polka dotted", "soft", etc to describe your child's favorite piece of clothing.

As You Read

Vocabulary Building

Help build your child’s vocabulary by allowing him/her to stop when they come across an unfamiliar word. Encourage your child to discover the meaning of the word using the words and illustrations surrounding it. The rhyming words allow for a simple rhyming exercise that you can play as you read. Ask your child to stop the story every time they hear a rhyme, and every once in awhile, brainstorm other words that rhyme with them as well. Examples of new rhyming words in I Had A Favorite Dress include:


You can also engage your child in the reading by encouraging him/her to read the words "Snip Snip Sew Sew" with you each time they appear.


Making Connections

Make predictions together about what the girl and her mother will turn the dress into next. Also, talk about the illustrations as you read by asking, "What do you think the illustrator used to make these pictures? Crayons? Markers? Do you like to make your pictures with those too? What do you like to use?" 

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret

Discuss the story and the main lesson using questions like:

What happened in this story?

What were some things that the girl's mom turned the dress into?

What else could she have turned it into? A hat? Gloves?


Moral of the Story

Talk to your child about the saying "Don't make mountains out of molehills. Make molehills out of mountains." Tell your child that it means that some things may seem like a really big deal, but they really aren't. We have to use our brains to solve the problems that aren't really big problems at all. Ask your child about any problems that s/he has encountered and discuss how s/he has and can handle them to turn them into molehills.

Extended Learning Exploration

Play Dress Up

Julia Denos_Books_I Had a Favorite Dress (4).jpg

Encourage your child to grab clothes from around the house and give them a new purpose! First, have your child choose an occupation or imaginative scenario. Your child wants to play restaurant? Grab an apron or a long sleeved shirt, wrap it around his/her waist and let them get to work! Wants to be a doctor? Have him/her throw on some pajamas and a handkerchief for a face mask and s/he is ready to start saving lives! It's all about your child using his/her own imagination and giving different purposes to articles of clothing that s/he may not have thought of before.


STEM Extension

Grab a ruler, one of your child's old articles of clothing and a pair of scissors. Write down several measurements and work with your child to cut out different sized pieces of cloth.Turn this into an art project by using those pieces of cloth to create your child's likeness like the little girl does at the end of the story. Grab some water colors, crayons, glue, and a pencil and your child can clothe a picture of him/herself. Once your child is done, take a pencil and paper and work together to describe what your child is doing in the picture, where s/he is, and what s/he is wearing.