A thoughtful and colorful biography of one of Mexico’s most prolific artists.


From the Portrait of an Artist series

A plunge into Frida Kahlo’s trailblazing life as an artist.

A relentless, self-taught artist, Kahlo did not let her battle with polio and her bus accident keep her from painting. Instead, her father helped her paint from bed by building her an easel that allowed her to paint lying down. This entry in the Portrait of an Artist series focuses on Kahlo’s magical realism in her paintings, presenting her as the dreamer of “fantastical scenes.” Kahlo’s relationship with fellow artist Diego Rivera is touched upon. However, neither the relationship nor its turbulence is the main focus of the text, as Brownridge chooses to display Kahlo as an artist in her own right. In addition, the text contains information on the “firsts” that Kahlo achieved: the first exhibition in New York City by a Mexican and the first Mexican in a Louvre gallery. Dieckmann’s illustrations, made with both traditional and digital media, show the vibrancy of life with which Kahlo surrounded herself and often follow the color palette established in the painting shown on the page. In a similar way, Édith Carron uses bright colored pencils in Brownridge’s book about Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh to complement his style. An invitation to visit Kahlo’s “bright blue house,” now a museum, leaves readers desirous to learn more.

A thoughtful and colorful biography of one of Mexico’s most prolific artists. (Picture book/biography. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-642-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous...


From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

A first introduction to the iconic civil rights activist.

“She was very little and very brave, and she always tried to do what was right.” Without many names or any dates, Kaiser traces Parks’ life and career from childhood to later fights for “fair schools, jobs, and houses for black people” as well as “voting rights, women’s rights and the rights of people in prison.” Though her refusal to change seats and the ensuing bus boycott are misleadingly presented as spontaneous acts of protest, young readers will come away with a clear picture of her worth as a role model. Though recognizable thanks to the large wire-rimmed glasses Parks sports from the outset as she marches confidently through Antelo’s stylized illustrations, she looks childlike throughout (as characteristic of this series), and her skin is unrealistically darkened to match the most common shade visible on other African-American figures. In her co-published Emmeline Pankhurst (illustrated by Ana Sanfelippo), Kaiser likewise simplistically implies that Great Britain led the way in granting universal women’s suffrage but highlights her subject’s courageous quest for justice, and Isabel Sánchez Vegara caps her profile of Audrey Hepburn (illustrated by Amaia Arrazola) with the moot but laudable claim that “helping people across the globe” (all of whom in the pictures are dark-skinned children) made Hepburn “happier than acting or dancing ever had.” All three titles end with photographs and timelines over more-detailed recaps plus at least one lead to further information.

It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous flights of hyperbole. (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78603-018-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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Readers will salivate over this scrumptious and inspiring picture-book biography.



Julia “The French Chef” Child’s fascinating life, lovingly remembered by her grandnephew.

She stood 6 feet, 2 inches tall and wore size 12 shoes. In other words, Julia Child, nee McWilliams, was hard to miss. During World War II, she worked for the Office of Strategic Services, met her husband, and cooked shark-repellent cakes that protected Allied naval officers working in shark-infested waters. Later, while living in Paris, Julia discovered French food, and the rest is history. Prud’homme successfully drills home the fact that Child did not start out as a great cook but rather came into her talent through hard work and pure doggedness. The book’s unabashed celebration of Child’s love of food and of her pure hunger for knowledge about cooking is joyous. Ample backmatter takes a slightly more in-depth dive into Julia’s life and includes lists of pertinent books, TV shows, podcasts, websites, and exhibits. Caregivers conscious about instilling healthy eating habits in children may appreciate the appended recipe for oeufs brouillés (scrambled eggs), refreshingly different from the sweet snacks that usually constitute picture-book recipes. The colorful digital illustrations work in perfect tandem with the text, lavishly depicting the foods that seduced Child toward a life of cooking. By the story’s end, there is no mystery left as to what made her beloved by so many around the world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Readers will salivate over this scrumptious and inspiring picture-book biography. (author's note, bibliography) (Picture-book biography. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63592-323-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Astra Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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