Jen Wang’s The Prince and the Dressmaker is Great Comics, Great for Dads

by

The Prince and the Dressmaker art by Jen Wang

I’m late to this. Jen Wang’s The Prince and the Dressmaker came out in 2017. I picked it up earlier this year to read with my 6-year-old daughter.  It’s a 288-page young adult comic book – marketed to ages 12-18. I really didn’t know anything about it, so I figured I would read it first before reading out loud with my daughter.

The setting is a fictional Europe on the cusp between monarchy and modernism – though with a gender-fluidity theme that is very contemporary. (There isn’t anything that a 6-year-old can’t handle, though there is a male character who likes to wear dresses.) The art is wonderful. The characters are sweet. The plotting and pacing are great.

My first read through I cried.

On every subsequent reading – with my daughter and with my wife – I still cry. 

There’s a moment in the book – that I won’t entirely give away – where a father is called on to get out of his own comfort zone to support his child. The dad comes through, with boldness and humility and humanity. And this scene always makes me cry. I hope I can respond with half as much poise when I am called on to support my daughter in ways that my own biases would prevent me from expecting.

I can’t recommend The Prince and the Dressmaker more highly. Though it’s not really about the father, it is a book that every father should read. It is great for young adults and for everyone else.

Since enjoying The Prince and the Dressmaker, I also picked up Wang’s Stargazing, which I (and my daughter and wife) also highly recommend.  It’s a sweet semi-autobiographical comics novel about elementary school age kids growing up in a suburban Southern California that I recognize from my life here.

 

 

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