Books by Nicholas B.A. Nicholson

OBJECT OF VIRTUE by Nicholas B.A. Nicholson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 12, 2004

"Earnest exposition, didactic dialogue, preposterous plot: a dull debut."
Nicholson, a former specialist in Russian art at Christies, tries his hand at fiction but doesn't stray too far from his area of expertise. Read full book review >
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 1, 1998

In his first book, in homage to American folk art, Nicholson imagines the story behind the painting Portrait of a Little Girl in a Red Dress with Cat and Dog in the Museum of American Folk Art in New York City. The unnamed little girl narrates, describing how her portrait's creator, a self-taught artist named Ammi Phillips, traveled from state to state in the 1830s, painting farm families and depictions of country life. At her home, everyone else is too busy to pose, so she sits for the painting—and it's more difficult than she expected. While she is being painted, she gets to eat cherry tarts with the ladies in the parlor, and convinces Phillips to include Cat and Dog in the portrait at no extra cost. The first line, ``That's me over the fireplace,'' establishes a personal connection between readers and the girl, just as she establishes a connection with Phillips. In her picture-book debut, Von Buhler skillfully emulates the primitive folk-art style with characteristically solid, straight-mouthed figures and clean, flat lines. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
MONA LISA by Letizia Galli
BIOGRAPHY
Released: March 1, 1996

In a work subtitled ``The Secret of the Smile,'' readers learn a lot about Leonardo da Vinci, but little about his painting of the woman called Mona Lisa. Leonardo, as he is generally known, ``represents the spirit of the Renaissance''; this book explains to young readers his diverse talents. Even as a child, he puzzled his teachers with his many questions and with his unusual backwards writing. Galli presents Leonardo as an approachable, somewhat eccentric figure, one who delighted in masterminding extravagant festivals and designed his own clothing for comfort instead of style. Mona Lisa makes her entrance in the last three pages; she had a ``magical smile,'' and so Leonardo did what ``had never been done before—he painted what he saw.'' That message may be too enigmatic for the picture-book audience, but they'll like the odd perspectives found in the soft, pastel-flecked illustrations, which mimic the hues of Renaissance fresco painting and, along with the pictures' humorous bent, give the work an airy quality. Some additional facts are provided at the end, but no specific references are cited. (Picture book/biography. 5-8) Read full book review >