THE PRINCESS AND THE PEACOCKS by Linda Merrill

THE PRINCESS AND THE PEACOCKS

Age Range: 4 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 When James McNeill Whistler finds his portrait of a princess in ``dismal surroundings'' in Frederick Leyland's dining room, Leyland agrees to let him redecorate--if he doesn't touch the costly leather wall covering. Whistler paints golden peacocks on blue to harmonize with the portrait and Leyland's fine porcelain. When Leyland sees it, he's horrified but agrees to let him go on; in the result, now at the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery (the book's co-publisher), the ceiling is adorned with feathers and even the precious leather is gold and blue. Merrill, a curator at the Freer, knows her subject (she's writing the room's history), but having the portrait narrate adds little, while more information would be welcome (who is this princess? why is she in Leyland's dining room?). The illustrations are least satisfactory: though the characters are lively and Dixon suggests the beauty of Whistler's decorative details, two photos reveal the austere elegance of the room's lines, the opulence and delicacy of his ornamentation, and the exquisite composition of his portrait-- none of which are conveyed in these watercolors. Still, a remarkable true story. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 5th, 1993
ISBN: 1-56282-327-2
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1993