AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Elizabeth Matthews

PUBLICATION INFO: Candlewick Press, 2007


SOURCE: library


GENRE: picture book


“At a time when France was the center of all that was wealthy, grandiose, and fashionable, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel was born poor and skinny.”

From the publisher: “Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel was always different. And she vowed to prove that being different was an advantage! Poor, skinny, and orphaned, Coco stubbornly believed that she was as good as the wealthier girls of Paris. Tapping into her creativity and her sewing skills, she began making clothes that suited her (and her pocketbook) — and soon a new generation of independent working women craved her sleek, comfortable, and practical designs. Now an icon of fashion and culture, Coco Chanel continues to inspire young readers, showing just how far a person can come with spunk, determination, and flair.”

THEMES/TOPICS: be yourself/individuality

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: Matthews does a wonderful job of making this innovative woman accessible for kids. My eight-year-old has read this book over and over again. When I asked him what he most liked about it, he said it was the rags to riches story element.


  • Play dress up! Have your kids use old clothes to make their own innovative fashions.
  • Help kids learn to sew. SewMama will get you started.
  • Simple sewing projects for you to try.

You’ll find way more cool books at Susanna Leonard Hill’s “Perfect Picture Books.” Every Friday folks review a host of new books. Join us!

11 thoughts on “PPBF: DIFFERENT LIKE COCO”

      1. It also interests me because my grandmother began as a seamstress in the 40s and became a designer in the 50s-60s for a company. She made all of my clothing and I hated it as I wanted store-bought clothing. So she tricked me by putting in labels from the stores. I never new the difference. So, I have a great appreciation for Coco and what she accomplished.

  1. She’s a fascinating character for sure, and an interesting choice to cast in a book for young readers. A real “slice of life” type! One of my favorite adult titles about Coco is “The Secret of Chanel No. 5: The Intimate History of the World’s Most Famous Perfume” by Tilar J. Mazzeo.

  2. My daughter wrote a report on Coco a couple years ago, and we used the Amazon “Look in” feature as part of her research since we didn’t have access. But someday I hope to read all of it 🙂

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