Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Artists With Unique Styles

              I continue to be grateful to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy.  I have learned much from her and those who link up to share fabulous non-fiction picture books.  

         Happy New Year! And Congratulations to Alyson for beginning her sixth year!

        I know this is a favorite of many, and finally I managed to get it from the library. I've never heard of Esquivel! and found several recordings of his music so I could listen. And I found that I do know his music. This book shares his amazing life in music. With no instruction, he began playing the piano at age six, could be found only a few years later playing for others on any piano he could find. By fourteen years, he had his first job, and at seventeen was directing an orchestra. He used sounds together that felt like creating pictures, and today many are grateful for his innovations. Duncan Donatiuh's work is recognizable from other wonderful books like Funny Bones and Separate Is Never Equal. He shares that it's inspired by ancient Mexican art. You can read more in additional backmatter,  added sources and a picture of Esquivel! too.
       This is not non-fiction, but I am sharing it because I think it could be a great start to interest younger children in different famous artists and the style that makes them recognizable. It's never too early to start examining details in any area. This time, the setting puts the reader in the lively arts area of Montmartre in the 1920's where artists set up their easels to paint and to make a living. Here is Josette whose family has portraits of everyone in the family on their wall, including the pet dog, Frisette. I imagine you can guess what kind of dog she is! But there is no portrait of Pepette, Josette's lovable stuffed rabbit. There she goes off to the market to find an artist to paint Pepette. Each of four famous artists is there: Picasso, Dali, Chagall and Matisse. Although each one is pleased with their own portrait, Josette is not, and ends at home wondering what to do. You'll need to read the book to discover her solution. The illustrations are light, colorful and full of whimsy. There is more than one portrait of Pepette!


  1. I wrote about Esquivel today, too! Tonatiuh's art was a surprisingly perfect match for a 1960s bachelor pad kind of book.

    1. The detail he added is interesting when paired with the story. Thanks, Annette!

  2. You have to listen to some snippets of Esquivel's music! It is so eclectic. It was fun to have on while I read the book :)

  3. We need to create a playlist of music from musical nonfiction books. There seems to be a slew of great ones!


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