Books by Joan Yolleck

Released: March 23, 2010

Yolleck's admiration for a group of early-20th-century artists and friends spurred her to imagine a typical soirée hosted by Gertrude Stein. A prowling black cat purrs to readers, "On any day of the week, if you cross Paris's Luxembourg Garden going west, you will come to a cobbled street called rue de Fleurus." Readers are given a glimpse into each guest's day leading up to the evening's party. Guillaume Appollinaire crafts a new poem inspired by a street acrobat, Max Jacob works out a poem based on a dream and Pablo Picasso continues with his all-night creation of a painting of two women ("Two Nudes"). Priceman's sweeping gouache-and-ink paintings brilliantly evoke the atmosphere of a bohemian city and imbue each scene with a sense of magic and movement. The courteous cat's narration, punctuated with the occasional French phrase, suits the gently surreal mood. But the lengthy story itself, featuring as it does historical characters of whom the audience will know little (thumbnail bios at the beginning will provide some context), seems too ephemeral to make much lasting impression. Undeniably well done, this book will have trouble finding the right readers. (Picture book. 7-9)Read full book review >