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CASA AZUL by Laban Carrick Hill


An Encounter with Frida Kahlo

by Laban Carrick Hill

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: July 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-8230-0411-2

Two children briefly enter the magical world of surrealistic painter Frida Kahlo in this latest title of the Art Encounters series. Searching for their mother, Maria and Victor arrive in Mexico City on the same day in 1939 that artist Diego Rivera’s divorce from Kahlo is finalized. As the homeless children fall prey to an engaging street thief named Oswaldo, Kahlo returns to Casa Azul where she sinks into deep despair, alarming her fantastical companions. Maria and Victor wonder if Oswaldo is friend or foe while Kahlo wonders how she will survive without Rivera as she struggles to complete her strange Self-Portrait with Monkey and Hummingbird. Fate brings the children to Casa Azul where they experience Kahlo’s enchanted environment and learn that “life must always be a balance between joy and sorrow.” Although there is just too much going on here, Hill’s blend of realism, fantasy and Aztec myth nicely mirrors Kahlo’s surreal juxtaposition of real and unreal in her lifelong attempt to paint her own reality. Magical realism from cover to cover. (notes, biographical timeline, suggested reading) (Historical fiction. 12+)