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I AM MARC CHAGALL by Bimba Landmann


by Bimba Landmann illustrated by & Bimba Landmann

Age Range: 7 - 12

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-8028-5305-6
Publisher: Eerdmans

Hot on the heels of Michelle Markel’s Dreamer from the Village (2005) comes another picture-book biography of the great 20th-century surrealist, this one illustrated with stunningly three-dimensional mixed-media collages. Landmann bases her narrative “loosely” on the artist’s autobiography, My Life, allowing her subject to speak directly to the reader: “I painted my world, my life, all the things I loved, all the things I dreamed of, all the things I could not say in words.” The technique is relatively successful in conveying the spirit of Chagall’s vision, if of dubious nonfiction merit. But the illustrations so overshadow the text that for readers, it will hardly matter. Chagall himself is depicted with a fluff of purple fuzz for hair and posed bits of fabric for a body. A series of shallow dioramas constructed of corrugated cardboard, twigs, wire and fabric present events and translate verbal images in dizzyingly complex tableaux. The palette itself is straight from Chagall, each spread dominated by purples, reds, blues or greens. A timeline provides concrete facts, but the overall effect of the whole inevitably (and perhaps appropriately) emphasizes image over mere biography. (Picture book/biography. 7-12)