The first book written and illustrated by Eymard Toledo shows one boy's pluck when his beautiful town is ruined by the arrival of a gray, dusty factory.
Uncle Flores is the best tailor in the small river town of Pinbauê in Brazil. He used to make beautiful dresses and colorful costumes for the carnival, but nowadays he only makes gray uniforms for the factory workers. The houses are covered with dust from the factory, the river water is murky, and everything is drab. Edinho, his nephew, comes by every day after school to help cut and iron the cloth and listen to his uncle's stories. The best ones begin with "Once upon a time...." But when the factory tells Uncle Flores they don't need his uniforms anymore, Edinho comes up with an ingenious idea to get his uncle back to work and make everyone in town happier and brighter. Soon Uncle Flores's house is the most popular one in town....
In The Best Tailor in Pinbauê a small act of beauty in the midst of environmental degradation reminds young readers of their own agency and of the life-affirming strength of family and community.
About the Author
EYMARD TOLEDO was born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. At the age of 25 she moved to Berlin, Germany, where she completed her studies in industrial design. She still lives there today with her husband and two children.
"An elegant narrative is complemented by meticulously detailed collage illustrations that use handmade papers and photographs arranged to capture the craft of sewing, the setting, and the camaraderie of a boy, his uncle, and a shared legacy of conversation. The Best Tailor in Pinbauê can be thematically and aesthetically paired with Joanne Schwartz's Town is By the Sea (2017)."— Booklist, Starred Review
"A young boy helps revive his uncle's failing tailoring business.Uncle Flores is the best tailor in the fictional Brazilian town of Pinbauê. Young dark-skinned Edinho enjoys helping, but what he loves most is the sound of his uncle's sewing machine going cloc cloc cloc cloc cloc. Business was good for Uncle Flores until the factory came to town. The story takes on depth and addresses both social and environmental injustice as the other problems that came with the factory come to light: mainly a polluted river, the Velho Chico. Instead of the colorful clothes Uncle Flores used to sew, now his only work is creating gray overalls for the factory workers. When the factory begins importing overalls, narrator Edinho suggests his uncle use scraps of old fancy colorful clothes and make curtains out of them. A sole customer leads to a resurgence of Uncle Flores' business and sparks joy for the entire town. Mixed-media collage is a fitting choice for this story of cutting and piecing things together, though the bright colors at the end don't significantly stand out. Refreshingly, Portuguese words sprinkled throughout the fairly lengthy text aren't italicized. Though the solution reached doesn't solve all the problems facing the people of Pinabauê, as the afterword says, "it gives the people hope and happiness. And that's quite a beginning, isn't it?" Yes, it is. Loving and hopeful." --Kirkus Reviews