Both solid introduction and exhortation, this book will thrill budding artists.

READ REVIEW

DIEGO RIVERA

HIS WORLD AND OURS

A simple picture-book biography of Diego Rivera concentrates on his artistic career and encourages children to imagine themselves painting their own world.

Tonatiuh moves quickly through Rivera's childhood and early career, concentrating on the artist's murals and their inspirations. Clear language contextualizes the artist: In Spain, "he learned the classical way to paint, which means the finished paintings looked very realistic, almost like photographs," but then in France, "he met young artists who were painting in new and exciting ways." Without belaboring the point, the author honors Rivera's politics as well as his love of his homeland. (Notably and appropriately absent is any mention of Rivera's problematic personal life.) Like his subject, Tonatiuh celebrates his ethnic heritage with brown-skinned, muscular, stylized figures. His shapes have an elemental look to them; heads are virtually round, and lines are clean and straight. Digital coloring adds both texture and whimsy. Concluding, he suggests that if Rivera "were alive today," he might "paint students at their desks… / … just as he painted factory workers in the production line." By establishing a link between modern readers and Rivera and challenging them to "make our own murals," the author makes art both aspiration and action.

Both solid introduction and exhortation, this book will thrill budding artists. (glossary, author’s note, bibliography, lists of museums and paintings) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8109-9731-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers.

BAGEL IN LOVE

A romance for carb (and pun!) lovers who dance to their own drummers and don’t give up on their dreams.

Bagel is a guy who loves to dance; when he’s tapping and twirling, he doesn’t feel plain. The problem is, he can’t find a partner for the Cherry Jubilee Dance Contest. Poppy says his steps are half-baked. Pretzel, “who was at the spa getting a salt rub…told him his moves didn’t cut the mustard.” He strikes out in Sweet City, too, with Croissant, Doughnut, and Cake. But just when he’s given up, he hears the music from the contest and can’t help moving his feet. And an echoing tap comes back to him. Could it be a partner at last? Yep, and she just happens to smell sweet and have frosting piled high. Bagel and Cupcake crush the contest, but winning the trophy? That “was just icing on the cake,” as the final sentence reads, the two standing proudly with a blue ribbon and trophy, hearts filling the space above and between them. Dardik’s digital illustrations are pastel confections. Sometimes just the characters’ heads are the treats, and other times the whole body is the foodstuff, with tiny arms and legs added on. Even the buildings are like something from “Hansel and Gretel.” However, this pun-filled narrative is just one of many of its ilk, good for a few yuks but without much staying power.

In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2239-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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