An energetic and affectionate introduction to an artist who was always somewhat larger than life.

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JUST BEHAVE, PABLO PICASSO!

A terrific opening—a serene, classical landscape interrupted by Pablo Picasso’s exuberant burst through the canvas of this bucolic scene—leads into a simplified look at Picasso’s artistic development from adolescent prodigy through his 20s.

From Picasso’s “blue” period in Paris through his cheerier “rose” period, the young “Mr. Big Famous Art Star” still beloved of critics discovers the visual power of African masks, eventually producing the surprising Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Winter charts the course of an artist determined to travel by his own compass. He depicts the young adult Picasso beset by critics on every side (including an unnamed wife—“Why can’t you keep painting beautiful pictures?”—though Picasso would not actually marry any of the women in his life until much later). Hawkes’ vibrant, full-bleed illustrations offer Picasso as a superhero of sorts, red cape included, dashing as his artistic muse might inspire, and faithfully reproduce a few familiar works. A bit of magical realism intrudes as Picasso floats through Paris and later when “Picasso expands himself to a height of one hundred feet” to face down his critics. A mere taste of the iconoclastic artist emerges, but an essential point is conveyed—that Picasso understood that art is more than the eye perceives as “real.”

An energetic and affectionate introduction to an artist who was always somewhat larger than life. (biographical note) (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-13291-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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Stirring encouragement for all “little people” with “big dreams.” (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

MAYA ANGELOU

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

“There’s nothing I can’t be,” young Maya thinks, and then shows, in this profile for newly independent readers, imported from Spain.

The inspirational message is conveyed through a fine skein of biographical details. It begins with her birth in St. Louis and the prejudice she experienced growing up in a small Arkansas town and closes with her reading of a poem “about her favorite thing: hope” at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration. In between, it mentions the (unspecified) “attack” by her mother’s boyfriend and subsequent elective muteness she experienced as a child, as well as some of the varied pursuits that preceded her eventual decision to become a writer. Kaiser goes on in a closing spread to recap Angelou’s life and career, with dates, beneath a quartet of portrait photos. Salaberria’s simple illustrations, filled with brown-skinned figures, are more idealized than photorealistic, but, though only in the cover image do they make direct contact with readers’, Angelou’s huge eyes are an effective focal point in each scene. The message is similar in the co-published Amelia Earhart, written by Ma Isabel Sánchez Vegara (and also translated by Pitt), but the pictures are more fanciful as illustrator Mariadiamantes endows the aviator with a mane of incandescent orange hair and sends her flying westward (in contradiction of the text and history) on her final around-the-world flight.

Stirring encouragement for all “little people” with “big dreams.” (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84780-889-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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