Marcia Make-Up Bag & Friends: Lucy Lipstick

Poppy Thompstone, illustrated by Amelia Martell

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 20 Price: (paperback) $21.62 ISBN: 9781524593148 Reviewed: October, 2016 Author Website: Visit »

The contents of a make-up bag become characters in Poppy Thompstone’s cautionary tale about the perils of pride. Here, Lucy Lipstick vies with Lulu Lip Liner and others for the attention of Gabriella Graceful, a “famous ballerina” who has been invited to be the guest of honor at a Valentine’s Day Ball in London. 

Marcia Make-Up Bag has limited space. While Lucy is certain she is so important to Gabriella that she will be included in the bag and attend the ball, she contentedly remarks that Lulu Lip Liner, Maddie Mascara and others will be left behind. Her boasts become hurtful to her friends, prompting motherly Marcia’s disapproval: “She did not like to hear Lucy being so unkind to her friends no matter how excited she was.”

When Lucy’s over-enthusiasm leads her to fall from the make-up bag and face the possibilities not only of missing the ball, but of being separated from her friends forever, she learns a lesson in kindness and the importance of friends.

This is an unusual conceit for a children’s book. Still, young girls are likely to be fascinated by the idea of personified make-up items. The characters are likable and relatable, and the simple, childlike illustrations, although amateurish, manage to give expression to Lucy, her friends, and even the make-up bag as the action develops.

The narrative includes interesting words such as “bumptious,” “boastful” and “sheepishly,” which could expand youngsters’ vocabulary if read aloud with adult explanation.  And the action is described evocatively, with words such as “toppled,” “pirouetting,” “jostling,” and “wriggled.”

While the text requires a closer copyedit to eliminate punctuation errors (such as a missing end quote and inconsistent treatment of commas used with quote marks), such mistakes don’t seriously impact reading enjoyment.

The book’s warning that “pride comes before a fall”– literally and figuratively – has merit. With lively vocabulary and a memorable, if uncommon, cast of characters, this book will appeal to many young readers.

Also available as an ebook.

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