While this book would be splendid for the young (and the young at heart) all year long, it’s especially appropriate as a Hanukkah gift, as Judith Leiber was a Holocaust survivor, and her charming, inspired designs for evening bags are a manifestation of her refusal to allow the Nazis to extinguish her inner light.
I asked Deborah: How did you happen to write a children’s book on Judith Leiber?
“(Publisher) Little Bee Books came to me and Masha with this project right after Judith’s obit appeared in The Times,” she said. “We were excited to do it. Having worked together previously for Little Bee on POLKA DOT PARADE: A Book about Bill Cunningham, we had a track record with them.”
Leiber famously designed the evening bags used by Mamie Eisenhower for both of President Eisenhower’s inaugural balls. As PARROTS, PUGS, AND PIXIE DUST describes the First Lady as wearing a peau-de-soie gown, I asked Deborah: What would you tell a ten-year-old reader who asked what ‘peau-de-soie’ means?
“I’d say it was a fancy schmancy fabric used for party clothes.”
What are the three main things for young readers to admire about Judith Leiber?
“High quality was very important to her and she worked day and night to do her best work. Second, she didn’t give up when she encountered problems, and third, she had fun with her work and never lost her sense of humor.”
And which Judith Leiber designs are your favorites?
“That’s a hard one. Maybe the Toucan Toco clutch? Or the shimmering red tomato? I change my mind every time I look at the bags.”
(Judith Leiber’s ‘Toucan Toco’ Minaudière)
In my opinion, PARROTS, PUGS, AND PIXIE DUST glows with such warm feeling, it’s like having a menorah on your table. This book isn’t only for your daughters or your grandchildren: it’s for you too, to give you a lift.
PARROTS, PUGS, AND PIXIE DUST is available here on Amazon.
On Barnes & Noble, the book is available here.
For the artist Masha D’yans’ website, go here.
And Deborah Blumenthal’s website is at this link.
To follow Deborah on Twitter (@DeborahBlu), go here.