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WANDA GÁG by Deborah Kogan Ray Kirkus Star


The Girl Who Lived to Draw

by Deborah Kogan Ray & illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray

Age Range: 8 - 10

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-670-06292-8
Publisher: Viking

Wanda Gág’s millions and billions and trillions of fans will be as enthralled by her true life’s story as they are by her made-up ones. Growing up in a large clan of Czech and German descent, she caught fire for drawing from her father, a commercial and fine artist. Forced to become the chief breadwinner as a teenager, she supported her family through hard times by teaching and by painting postcards and magazine illustrations—going to formal art training only after two of her younger sisters had finished school. A 1928 gallery show in New York brought her a contract for Millions of Cats, often adjudged the first modern picture book, and then a string of other award-winning original stories and translated folktales whose characters and imagery likewise drew on her cultural heritage and childhood memories. Ray intersperses this simply written profile with quotes from Gág’s memoirs and other writings, and supplies hazy, warm-toned scenes that capture both the strongly European look of the artist’s Midwestern community and her lively, determined, cute-as-a-button personality. (author’s notes, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 8-10)