A Gem of a Book
A review of Anthony DeStefano's book Our Lady's Wardrobe
+JMJ+ The last few weeks have been rough for a variety of reasons. As a result, I just haven't been able to write. There have been several occasions when I have sat down to write with a blog post in mind but my mind has been blank. I've started no less than three blog posts but haven't been able to complete any of them. Call it writer's block, call it exhaustion from writing my own book (I turned in round one of edits a few weeks ago to my most excellent editor and the whole process has had me a bit stressed out). Whatever the cause, I've felt a bit frustrated but this has also been yet another great opportunity to say, "Ok, Lord! Do with this struggle what you will!"
This past weekend I came into possession of a brand new children's book (being published in April) and as soon as I read it I knew I had to share about it. So here's a new blog post (finally)! I do apologize for the grainy photos! I do not have a physical copy of the book yet (only a pdf) but still wanted to leave you with some idea of what to expect without giving away too much. Trust me, these snapshots taken with my phone do not do the actual pictures justice! Not even close!
This book by Anthony DeStefano is hands down one of the most spectacular books I've ever laid eyes on. Really! Our family loves Anthony's books (I've shared about this before) but his newest book coming out in April has absolutely blown me away. I literally feel giddy just writing this - that's how excited I am! Our Lady's Wardrobe is just one of those rare books that awes, inspires, and captivates from beginning to end.
Every Anthony DeStefano book that has come into our lives always seems to come at just the right time and this one was no different. Our middle child, Theresa, is preparing to receive her First Holy Communion in April and so we have naturally been getting her outfit ready for that special day. She loves the Blessed Mother and we've spent quite a lot of time talking about her and how she leads us closer to her Son. The subject of Mary's different "styles" worn at her apparitions has also come up. We've talked about Mary's purity, innocence, and simplicity (in a way a 7-yr-old can understand) and how the white of Theresa's First Communion dress and veil symbolize her purity. We have spent time carefully piecing together Theresa's wardrobe and she is looking forward to that day with great anticipation. Sure, she's excited about her dress and about wearing my wedding veil (she asked if she could wear it and I'm tearing up just thinking about it) but, most of all, she is just so anxious to receive Jesus. The innocent beauty and joy of children never ceases to amaze and inspire me. Is it a coincidence that, just as we are preparing our daughter to receive Our Lord for the first time and encouraging her to look to His Mother for her example, that Anthony DeStefano's new book is about Our Lady? I think not! It's definitely either a happy coincidence or else a little gift from God. Thank you, Lord!
Our Lady's Wardrobe describes the various apparitions of Mary over the course of history and describes the different outfits she has worn at each of her visits. Anthony takes readers on a journey starting with Mary's life here on earth - her time spent living in Nazareth when she was poor and wore very simple, handmade clothes. Now that she is in Heaven, he says, she lives in a beautiful mansion and has "a wardrobe filled with clothes of great variety." Pieces from this carefully chosen wardrobe have been displayed at her different apparitions and these are described in word and with beautiful pictures. Over the course of the book, we meet Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Our Lady of Knock, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima, and Our Lady Queen of Angels.
The Blessed Mother's wardrobe choices speak of her beauty and radiance, innocence and splendor. Her beauty gives us a taste of what heaven must be like. Everyone who has ever seen her has said that she was beautiful. Hers is a beauty like no other. I'm sure any of us would get lost in the beauty of her motherly gaze and never want to turn away.
Anthony DeStefano uses his sweet and gentle poetry that so many readers have come to know and love. The illustrations by Juliana Kolesova took my breath away. The cover alone had me staring open mouthed as I took in all the details. The illustrations made me wonder: if I was so captivated by a drawing, how would I feel if I was actually looking at the Blessed Mother herself? My imagination fails me! The simplicity of the words and exquisite illustrations are truly awe-inspiring. That's how Mary is, isn't she? Simple yet beautifully exquisite. So much care and detail has been put into each page just as the Blessed Mother uses care and detail to choose just the right outfit whenever she appears. "Her clothes are proof that Heaven is a truly wondrous place-a land of beauty, life, and love and joy and truth and grace."
At the end of the book, the author reminds us that Mary is the one who helps us to love, trust, and serve Jesus. He also mentions a few things the reader can do for Jesus and His Mother giving this book that little, beautiful touch of something "extra." Children and their families will not only learn about some of Mary's apparitions; they will also learn about some special ways to honor her.
Our Lady's Wardrobe is truly a work of art and sure to delight young eyes. Although, I really think that parents and grandparents will also be immediately drawn into this little gem of a book! I'm in my 30's and am still in awe! This book would make a beautiful Easter or First Communion gift especially for the little girls in your life. My husband and I plan to gift this to our daughter for her First Holy Communion - a very special book for a very special day. What better woman is there for her (or any girl or woman) to emulate? May we all be inspired by Mary and aspire to be more like her!
Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
Disclaimer: this post is in no way sponsored by Sophia Press. I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest feedback and am simply sharing my thoughts in this blog post.