FLYAWAY GIRL by Ann Grifalconi


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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An artist with several fine books set in Africa to her credit (The Village of Round and Square Houses, 1986, Caldecott Honor) experiments with collages of photographic images (from the National Geographic and similar sources) of people, artifacts, etc., sometimes reversed or with their colors exaggerated, to create what she terms "magical realism." The resulting art is expressive and elegantly designed, while the book's format, enhanced with repetitive decorative motifs, is handsome. The story, evoking the feelings of a pregnant mother and the daughter ("Nsia") she lets run flee, aware that the new baby will force Nsia into responsibility all too soon, is lyrically in tune with the book's intent as a tribute to traditional life on the Niger. But, unfortunately, the art works less well as illustration: for all the artist's skill in manipulating the images, it has a static quality, in part because the same portraits are often reused in different settings. Somehow, in the reader's imagination, these images never quite become characters. Still, Grifalconi's imaginative approach makes for a striking, if not wholly effective, offering. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-316-32866-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1992


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