Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Learning From The Past



    Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From Alyson and others, you will discover terrific nonfiction picture books!
       



         Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos is based on the life of one of the world's most influential painters, Frida Kahlo, and the animals that inspired her art and life. Written by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra who also created Waiting for The Biblioburro, it's a new look at Frida from an imagined childhood and then adult perspective. The afterword says that Frida really didn't have her most famous pets until adulthood, but Monica Brown explains she has tried to show the magic and creativity that sustained Kahlo in her early challenges, and then throughout adulthood. Frida contracted polio at age six and had a terrible bus accident as a teen, both of which kept her bedridden for months.

         Brown's story tells of Frida's beloved pets—two monkeys, a parrot, three dogs, two turkeys, an eagle, a black cat, and a fawn—and shows the imaginary connections she made in art with those animals. For example, when sick as a young child, Brown tells that Frida drew a door in the window mist, and pretended she could walk right through that door and play "like a kitten," thus showing the playful side of Frida's personality. Parra's bright, full-color pages show a curious girl,  and then a woman enjoying and loving her animals, nature, and painting.

       I didn't know very much about Frida Kahlo before reading this book, but looked for her paintings, especially with her beloved animals and there are many. There are several with parrots, one of which is called Bonito. In this story, Brown shows that Bonito slept with Frida sometimes and begged for butter pats at the dinner table. I'm wondering if all of the things told in the story are true, at least at Frida's young age that Monica Brown wrote or John Parra showed, but her gifts of art demonstrated in the book are illuminated beautifully by showing the influences of these 'animalitos' on Frida.

         I enjoyed that Monica Brown emphasized the importance of Frida's living "in a house the color of a parrot's bright blue feather--La Casa Azul." This information is repeated in some way throughout the book because Frida lived there all her life, died there and now it is a museum of her work. Here's a picture:

4 comments:

  1. I've seen this one quite a bit recently but haven't had a chance to pick it up. It looks fascinating, but like you I wonder how much of it is based on fact, and how much is creative interpretation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I enjoyed it as you saw, but did question its non-fiction status. Thanks, Jane!

      Delete
  2. I have seen this book on so many lists, but my library still doesn't have it :( I'll keep searching for it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck, Michele! I enjoyed learning some different things about Frida!

      Delete

Having a conversation is a good thing!