Portraits of the Artists

9780544252233_hresLives of the Artists: Masterpieces, Messes (And What the Neighbors Thought)
By Kathleen Krull
Illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1995, Paperback 2014, Boston, $8.99)

Since at least the early nineteenth century, mainstream society has equated creativity with eccentricity. In Lives of the Artists, Kathleen Krull and Kathryn Hewitt celebrate the eccentricity, egoism, and even strangeness of nineteen artists from Da Vinci to Warhol. Krull’s brief, breezy profiles discuss each artist’s life and work – with an emphasis on the more outrageous and unusual aspects of the former. A humorous portrait accompanies each biography: Hewitt depicts her subjects as large-headed caricatures of themselves and surrounds them with details evocative of their interests and oeuvre. Her portrait of Georgia O’Keefe, for example, shows the painter dressed in signature black. She wears a hat festooned with tiny skulls, one of O’Keefe’s favorite subjects. The artist’s cloak opens to reveal a gorgeous floral pattern that evokes her famous flower paintings. Finally, a rattlesnake and a chow dog stand on either side of O’Keefe as she hunted the former and loved the latter.

In addition to household names such as Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Picasso, the collective biography also introduces young readers to lesser-known artists, including Sofonisba Anguissoloa, an Italian woman who earned a living as a painter in Renaissance Europe, Kathe Kollwitz, a German artists and crusader for social justice, and Japanese-American sculptor Isamu  Noguchi, who designed work for both museums and public spaces. Lives of the Artists is a fun and engaging romp through art history; perhaps its only downfall is that it perpetuates an idea of the artist as fascinating oddball without sufficiently exploring what is far more interesting – the work itself.

-Dorothy A. Dahm

 

A City’s Hero

StoneGiantStone Giant: Michelangelo’s David and How He Came to Be
By Jane Sutcliffe
Illustrated by John Shelley
(Charlesbridge, 2014, Watertown, Massachusetts, $16.95)

Although Michelangelo’s David is nearly synonymous with Florence, Michelangelo was not the first artist to attempt a sculpture of the biblical hero in the Tuscan city. For almost forty years, a large block of marble occupied a cathedral yard as a succession of sculptors attempted to elicit David from it. All gave up quickly. Then, someone invited Michelangelo, a young Florentine artist, to tackle the project. Over three years, he worked feverishly. The result was the athletic, formidable David who still awes Florence’s visitors.

In Stone Giant, Jane Sutcliffe and illustrator John Shelley communicate both the arduous nature of Michelangelo’s task and the wonder of his vision. Along the way, young readers and listeners learn something about sculpture, Renaissance art, and the creative process. Shelley’s illustrations invite a few trips through the book. His scenes of early 16th century Florence are warm and human; in one spread, a crowd of Florentines, their faces curious, eager, or skeptical, their attire and features distinct, gather around the work-in-progress; in another, a cat naps in a shop window. Others depict the sculptor intent on his work or stooped with exhaustion from his labors. On some pages, Shelley flirts with neoclassical themes and motifs – an approach touch considering the influence Greek and Roman artists had on the Italian Renaissance. For example, on a page that describes Michelangelo grappling with bad weather, Shelley arranges small images of the sculptor at work inside a wheel. The page’s corners show personifications of the weather – a cherub sprinkles snowflakes while a Zeus-like figure presides over a raincloud. Thus, Shelley provides some context for the sculptor’s work without words.

Stone Giant concludes with the public presentation of Michelangelo’s David. Citizens of Florence marvel at the sculpture. But, instead of celebrating Michelangelo’s new acclaim, Sutcliffe tells readers the artist “saw his David.” The artist’s reward is not wealth or even praise, but the simple satisfaction of a dream realized.

-Dorothy A. Dahm

Patriotic Cookies

9780544130012_hresGingerbread for Liberty!: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution
By Mara Rockliff
Illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015, Boston, $17.99)

Not all of America’s Founding Fathers were landowners, politicians, or generals. One little known figure in the American Revolution was a jovial baker. Christopher Ludwick, a German-American resident of Philadelphia, baked bread for the Continental Army. A fierce patriot, he refused to accept payment for his services. When George Washington put Ludwick in charge of Hessian prisoners of war, the baker’s kindliness –and his delicious food – persuaded many of them to fight for the Continental Army. In his civilian life, he was one of Philadelphia’s most charitable businessmen, donating free bread and gingerbread to the poor, especially destitute children.

In Gingerbread for Liberty!, Mary Rockliff and illustrator Vincent X. Kirsch introduce children – and many adults – to Ludwick. Rockliff’s simple narrative conveys the baker’s heartiness and warmth. Kirsch’s illustrations make the picture-book biography particularly appetizing: all scenes and characters – ships, soldiers, animals, and the bakeshop itself – appear as elaborately decorated gingerbread cookies. A reminder that generosity and kindness have their own power, this captivating book is a fitting tribute to an almost forgotten American patriot.

-Dorothy A. Dahm

Nursery Beats

9780152053079_hresThis Jazz Man
By Karen Ehrhardt
Illustrated by P.G. Roth
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006, Paperback edition 2015, Boston, $6.99)

Although many people believe jazz is an acquired taste, Karen Ehrhardt and illustrator P.G. Roth have made the genre entrancing to the youngest readers and listeners. In This Jazz Man, they introduce children to some of jazz’s most famous and innovative figures. The text, set to the tune of “This Old Man,” celebrates Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and other legendary jazz musicians. Jazz beats float over Roth’s mixed media portraits of the artists. Children will enjoy searching for the music-loving mouse who appears in each spread, one of the book’s more whimsical touches. Brief profiles of each musician follow the verse narrative. This Jazz Man should have readers and listeners of all ages snapping their fingers and tapping their toes.

-Dorothy A. Dahm

One Thrilling Ride

 9780547959221_hresMr. Ferris and His Wheel
By Kathleen Gibbs Davis
Illustrated by Gilbert Ford
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, Boston, $17.99)

A staple at carnivals and amusement parks, the Ferris Wheel debuted at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893. An American engineer named George Ferris designed the ride, which he hoped would rival the Eiffel Tower, which had been the principal attraction at the previous World’s Fair. However, fair authorities scoffed at his idea; they found the concept of a huge rotating wheel improbable. Nonetheless, with no funding from fair officials and amidst much heckling from the public, Ferris built his wheel. When the fair opened in June 1893, the Ferris Wheel dazzled everyone with its velvet seats, electric lights, and views of three states.

 In Mr. Ferris and His Wheel, Kathleen Gibbs Davis and illustrator Gilbert Ford reveal the ride’s history and celebrate this marvel of engineering. Davis captures the suspense of the building process even as she stealthily educates readers about various principles of engineering. Asides in small font, rather like textboxes, offer additional information without disrupting the narrative. Ford’s illustrations, particularly his depictions of the Ferris Wheel at night, are dreamscapes: illuminated by then novel electric lights, the fairgrounds might be a fairy metropolis.

 Mr. Ferris and His Wheel is an interesting look at the story behind a familiar ride. It should also encourage young readers and listeners to be curious about how things are designed and built.

-Dorothy A. Dahm

 

Meet the Biographer: Chris Raschka

9780763658069Chris Raschka has written and illustrated countless picture books, including biographies of jazz icons Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. This year, he published The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra, a picture-book biography of jazz innovator Sun Ra. This week, he chatted with Kidsbiographer about the translating the spirit of jazz onto the printed page and the challenge of portraiture.

Kidsbiographer: How did you first encounter Sun Ra’s music, and what made you decide to write his picture-book biography?

Chris Raschka: I first heard Sun Ra’s music when I was a teen; his music was definitely in the air, even for rock and roll listeners like me, but I didn’t think to make a picture book of his life and music, really, until I got hold of the Evidence release of Sun Ra’s singles, which came out in the early 00‘s. It’s a collection of the many pieces that Sun Ra put out over his long career that became hit records. Each one is a number one hit for sure; only America didn’t know it at the time. Hearing them together made me understand fully what a range of interesst Sun Ra had, and what a truly remarkable person and musician he was.

Kidsbiographer:What sort of research did you perform to write and illustrate The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra?

Chris Raschka:First and foremost, my research consisted of listening to as much of Sun Ra’s music as I could, repeatedly. Also, I read John F. Szwed’s excellent biography of Sun Ra: Space is the Place. And, not to be dismissed, I spoke with my music pals about him.

Kidsbiographer: The narrative has a conversational tone as if a storyteller were regaling an audience of young children with an account of Sun Ra’s life. How did you find your narrator’s voice for this book?

Chris Raschka: Well, originally, what I made, and what Liz Bicknell, my editor at Candlewick Press, saw first, was a very impressionistic book, based on a song form, somewhat along the lines of another of my jazz bios, Charlie Parker Played Be Bop. I was hoping to capture something of Sun Ra’s feel and flavor, and teach readers about him and his music, or introduce him and his music that way. However, Liz felt that with someone like Sun Ra, whom the majority of the American public is not aware of, a more traditional biography was required. So I thought, okay, I’ll tell it strictly as I would think that Sun Ra would wish me to tell it, especially to children, that is, that he, Sun Ra, was not of this earth, but came from Saturn. This is what I did, with a little bit of sleight of hand, in that I appealed to a child’s pretty solid reasonableness, suggesting that we all know that this couldn’t really be true—kind of letting the child reader in on the gag—but then going on to describe Sun Ra’s life really as a space traveler, which explains parts of Sun Ra’s life so well, like his genius, his iconoclasm, his outsiderness. But then to be an artist will always put you on the outside. Sun Ra took the outside to outer space. He was way,way out long before the rest of us.

Kidsbiographer: The illustrations you created for The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra are reminiscent of expressionist paintings. How did Sun Ra’s life and music influence your approach to illustrating this book?

Chris Raschka: I tried to incorporate aspects of Sun Ra’s musical creation into my own art creation. For one thing, I made sure the art was ephemeral; it’s painted on tissue paper glued to bristol boar. It’s free flowing; the watercolor and inks I used bleed nearly uncontrollably through the tissue paper. And the whole thing is heavily saturated; I used lots of color and water, and, though each piece was thought through ahead of time, they were largely improvised on the spot. Then once I had a big stack of dried and very wrinkled-up sheets of tissue paper paintings, I chose the bits I liked, tore them down to the size I wanted and then pieced them together sometimes with other bits from other paintings, and glued them onto board.

Kidsbiographer:My favorite illustration shows a young Sun Ra composing music. You use simple, childlike lines and bright colors to depict his face, intent on the job at hand, the musical notes he writes, and the stars overhead that suggest his otherworldly origins. A blank music sheet, complete with staff, forms the background for the entire painting. How did you compose this remarkable picture?

Chris Raschka: Finding the right abstraction of a person, visually, is maybe the most challenging part of any biography. Generally, there are two approaches to painting a portrait of someone: either he or she sits for you, or you work from photos, or both. Sitting for me was out of the question because Sun Ra is back on Saturn. Working from photos is possible, but I feel makes for awkward results because the imagery comes from different times in the subject;s life and from a particular point of view, and through the optics of a camera which is its own abstraction, and really is not the only way we perceive people or our world in general. It’s one way, and perhaps an easier way. But for some things, it isn’t quite right. I prefer to study the pictures of a person, then put them away, and draw and paint until I find something that satisfies me, even if it is far removed from portraiture. It is essential in a picture book that the elements that compose the pictures in the front of the book are the same as the elements in the back and all the way through, so how you proceed must be coherent and create your own kind of vocabulary for telling the story. This is the great trick.

Kidsbiographer: What do you hope young readers and listeners will take away from The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra?

Chris Raschka: Sun Ra was an American musical genius, a social pioneer, and a cosmic visionary. Perhaps having heard his name through this little book, a young reader or two will be just attuned enough to catch his way way outness when those vibrations starting ringing in their ears

Kidsbiographer: Would you like to discuss any current or upcoming projects?

Chris Rascka:I’m working on a variety of things: a mostly wordless cat book that I’ve been wrestling with for some years; a book about perception, science and art, featuring an owl; a book about a rainy day; a book by Julie Fogliano about a baby and a dog; and a book about an opera, The Magic Flute. Just out is a book that I made with my dear friend Vladimir Radunsky who happens to be visiting me right now from Rome and may walk into this room any minute. It’s called Alphabetabum. It is a collection of wonderful old studio photographic portraits that Vladimir has found in cities all over the world, to which I have attached poetic triplets, imagining the subjects’ names and attributes. The idea of the book is to pay a proper reverence to both the beauty of the old photos as well as to the memory of these people who lived so long ago and may be our own grand or great grandparents. I have presented this book a number of times to elementary students as a springboard to writing poetry about the students’ own found photos or photos of their ancestors. It’s worked quite well.

 

 

From Camel to Spaceship

9780152059101_hresLives of the Explorers: Discoveries, Disasters (and What the Neighbors Thought)
By Kathleen Krull
Illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, Boston, $20.99)

When Americans think of explorers, they normally recall the names they learned in school: the men who brought large ships to the Western Hemisphere, set sailing records, and perhaps gave their name to various locations. In Lives of the Explorers, Kathleen Krull and illustrator Kathryn Hewitt introduce middle-grade readers to a host of discovering sorts, some of whom they will not cover in school.

Columbus, Magellan, and Hudson all receive a mention here, but the collective biography also celebrates earlier – and just as intrepid – travelers, including Marco Polo and Leif Ericson and twentieth-century innovators such as astronaut Sally Ride. In between come American pioneer Daniel Boone, African-American polar explorer Matthew Henson, and Isabella Bird and Mary Kingsley, English women who defied social convention to travel solo in the nineteenth century. Krull writes short profiles of each explorer, emphasizing each figure’s early life, thrilling adventures, and often colorful personality. Her accounts are never dull: readers learn just how Captain Cook disciplined his crew and what Jacques Piccard saw at the bottom of the ocean. Hewitt’s illustrations continue this lively approach as a gently humorous portrait of the subject accompanies each profile. For example, a huge, helmeted Magellan dances atop a tiny ship, and an enormous, but meditative Lewis, Clark, and Sacajewea crowd into a small canoe. Maps that show subjects’ routes and evoke early cartography appear with some profiles, so readers see just how far these men and women ventured from their homes.

The Lives of the Explorers frontispiece is a portrait of Tianfei, ancient Chinese goddess of seafarers. A small illustration spanning the dedication and title pages depicts a rocket blasting up into space. Hewitt has placed the rocket in the bottom half of the page: below it is steam and beyond it is white space. If humans have discovered much, there is still much left to explore, Hewitt and Krull suggest, and this is perhaps the most exciting message of this entertaining and inspiring book.

-Dorothy A. Dahm

 

Meet the Biographer: Catherine Reef

catherine-reefAward-winning author Catherine Reef has written acclaimed biographies of Jane Austen, the Brontë Sisters, Ernest Hemingway, and Leonard Bernstein, among others. Most recently, she published Frida and Diego: Art, Love, Life, a dual biography of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The book explores the couple’s art, political activity, and famously volatile relationship. This week, Reef spoke with Kidsbiographer about the joys and challenges of writing aboutthe pair’s art.

Kidsbiographer: What was the most intriguing fact or anecdote you uncovered while researching Kahlo and Rivera’s lives?

Catherine Reef: What could be more intriguing than an unsolved mystery? I came across one while doing the research for Frida & Diego, and of course I included it in my book.

It happened late in the artists’ lives, in 1952, when the Mexican government invited Rivera to paint a mural for display in Paris, at an international peace conference. Rivera, who courted controversy throughout his career, proclaimed that he would create a work “dedicated to peace,” but instead he produced what was essentially a communist propaganda poster. The Nightmare of War and the Dream of Peace presented a beaming Joseph Stalin as the world’s peacemaker, inviting other nations to sign the Stockholm Appeal, a petition calling for a ban on nuclear weapons. Beside Stalin stood his partner in peace, a beatific Mao Tse-tung. And if communist leaders offered the dream of peace, then the United States—embodied by a machinegun-wielding Uncle Sam—was the land of greed and lynchings and represented the nightmare of war.

The thing is, it was all a lie. Rivera hated Stalin and his ruthlessness; and despite his lifelong commitment to communism, he adored the United States, its industry, and the opportunities it offered him as an artist. He can only have painted as he did to draw attention to himself and to gain favor with the Mexican Communist Party, which had expelled him in 1929 for his willingness to accept commissions from government and capitalist clients.

Rivera called the mural “the best thing I have ever done,” which is what he often did when a work fell short of his artistic ideals, but he fooled no one. Mexico’s leaders refused to display a painting that in their view insulted the nation’s allies, and the Communist Party declined to reinstate Rivera.

Then, somehow, this mural, measuring 40 feet long and 10 feet high, disappeared. Stories explaining what happened to it sound like urban legends. One theory has it moldering in a Moscow warehouse. According to another, Rivera presented it to China, and Mao ordered it destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. But we don’t know. The fate of Rivera’s mural remains among the art world’s most beguiling mysteries.

Kidsbiographer: All biographers begin the research process with some preconceptions about their subjects. How did your perception of Kahlo, Rivera, and their work evolve while you wrote Frida and Diego?

Catherine Reef: Spending so much time closely studying Rivera’s and Kahlo’s work greatly increased my appreciation of the pair as artists. Because Rivera painted on such a grand scale, many of us never have the chance to view his major works directly. The paintings of his that we see in museums tend to be his depictions of peasant life, often featuring the rounded human figures and lush bundles of calla lilies for which he is known. These works are lovely and full of feeling, but the splendor and majesty of his murals are missing from them.

Through this project I learned to fully admire—and marvel at—the enormity and complexity of Rivera’s achievement. He covered wall after wall with richly populated scenes of the present and past. In Rivera’s imagined world, Mexico’s early people share space with twentieth-century Californians; peasants rub shoulders with Jefferson and Lincoln; the whole of Mexican history plays out, from the pre-Columbian era through the bloody Spanish conquest of the 1500s and the revolution of Rivera’s youth. He painted optimistically, depicting his hope for the future in the clangorous machinery of modern industry as much as in the quiet lessons of an outdoor country school. Kahlo was right when she called Rivera’s painted world “a great fiesta.”

I had seen Kahlo’s paintings, of course, but upon viewing them in conjunction with a close study of her life, I came to understand how she created a very personal symbolic language with which to depict her inner life on canvas—she was pioneering in this way, really. Kahlo has been grouped with the surrealists, but I wonder if some of her imagery doesn’t prefigure magical realism. Think of the flowers with insects’ wings that hover above her head in Self-Portrait with Necklace of Thorns (1940); the vines that grow from her body in Roots (1943) or the varied images that float on her bathwater like tiny islands in What the Water Gave Me (1938).

Kidsbiographer: What are some of your favorite paintings by Kahlo and Rivera? Why?

Catherine Reef: I am never good at choosing favorites, but I do feel drawn to Rivera’s murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts (1932-33). These twenty-seven panels celebrate industry, which in Rivera’s view offered hope to the laboring masses and made Detroit great. Grinding, turning machinery fills the largest panels. Workers operate drill presses, pull at handles, and seem to step off the walls and into the room. There’s a little bit of everything in the Detroit murals: smaller panels reveal the mineral wealth hidden below ground that made industrial development possible. Mighty hands emerge from the earth, peasants cradle fruit, a titan of industry looks down as if from a balcony, and a child grows in its mother’s womb. What a glorious achievement!

What I enjoy most about Kahlo’s work is her delightful attention to detail. Her style may appear primitive at first glance, but when we look closely we see that the thought and skill she applied to every aspect of her painting were really quite sophisticated. I love the way she painted her pet birds in Me and My Parrots (1941). I can see that she spent a long time studying the parrots’ coloration and character, and the fall of their feathers. She rendered each bird with great care, presenting it as a distinct individual. The fellow on Kahlo’s left shoulder has puffed out his plumage; the way the artist used dappling brushwork to capture this makes me smile.

I like looking at so many details in Kahlo’s work: her flyaway hair in Diego and I (1949), the yellows and pinks of the bright grain that forms a background to Self-Portrait with Monkey and Parrot (1942), and the twining tendrils in Self-Portrait as a Tehuana (1943), to name a few. This close study adds to my appreciation when I step back and view the paintings in their entirety.

Kidsbiographer: Frida and Diego explores the artists’ work and political activity. What was the most challenging aspect of conveying this often complex information for younger readers?

Catherine Reef: Art and politics were integral to the story I was telling, but it was a big challenge to decide how much information to include and where to place it. I was writing a biography, not an art book or a political history, so my goal was to weave these aspects into the subjects’ story but avoid long digressions.

When writing about the art, I needed to show how each subject developed as an artist and found his or her preferred medium and subject matter. I needed as well to provide enough information about the work to enable my readers to understand and appreciate what they were seeing. I also needed to place the work in its historical context: how did it build on the work of artists who had come before Rivera and Kahlo? Was it similar to or different from paintings being produced by their contemporaries? How was it innovative? I found it helpful to focus on major works and paintings that were pivotal in the artists’ development. I described these briefly and explained why they were significant. The fact that Frida & Diego is richly illustrated allowed me to go beyond the text in presenting some of the work; nevertheless, the number of images included is limited, as the book is, after all, a biography. It does contain a list of museums in the United States that have works by Rivera or Kahlo in their collections, and a number of these places make paintings available online. The back matter also includes a list of recommended books on the artists’ work for readers who want to explore further.

Now let’s consider politics. The artists’ long commitment to communism and Rivera’s troubled relationship with the Mexican Communist Party were integral to the drama of their lives. Leon Trotsky had an important role to play, so his predicament needed to be explained as well. I considered what my readers might already know or not know, and I anticipated questions that might occur to them as they read. Never forgetting that I was writing biography, I linked the discussion of politics to my subjects’ experience. For example, I showed the first stirrings of communist thought in Rivera’s mind by having him witness poverty in his youthful travels. When discussing the Mexican Communist Party’s activities in the 1920s, I emphasized Rivera’s role: marching, speaking at rallies, and helping to publish El Machete, the party newspaper. That the couple remained active participants in party activities throughout their lives is made plain by their participation in a political rally shortly before Kahlo’s death.

Kidsbiographer: What do you hope young adult readers will take away from Frida and Diego?

Catherine Reef: I hope my readers will come away from the book with a deeper understanding of two major figures in twentieth-century art. I hope they will have the foundation they need to delve into the artists’ work on their own and to form their own opinions about it. Ideally they will have found, in Kahlo’s paintings and Rivera’s murals, art that will continue to enrich their lives.

Kidsbiographer: Would you like to discuss any current or upcoming projects?

Catherine Reef: I am always happy to talk about new projects! In summer 2015, Clarion will release Noah Webster: Man of Many Words, a biography for young adults. Webster is known best for writing his great dictionary, so I got to delve into some fascinating aspects of the development of dictionaries and of written and spoken English. He was also an outspoken witness to the American Revolution and the formation of the early republic, so the book presents this part of our history along with his commentary, which was sometimes entertaining and always insightful. But behind the words and politics was a well-meaning if opinionated and socially awkward man, and the book is ultimately his story.

Intergalatic Music

9780763658069The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra
By Chris Raschka
(Candlewick Press, 2014, Somerville, Massachusetts, $15.99)

Jazz musician Sun Ra’s unique moniker was not the only thing that differentiated him from his contemporaries. Among the first to use an electric keyboard, he and his orchestra, the Arkestra, donned purple robes and metal foil crowns for their performances. He liked to say he hailed from Saturn because he found so much of human life, especially war, greed, and bigotry, incomprehensible.

In The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra, author-illustrator Chris Raschka celebrates the musician’s remarkable talent, colorful personality, and humanity. Raschka’s narrative is conversational; he sounds as though he is spinning a yarn for an audience of rapt children. “Sun Ra always said he that he came from Saturn,” he begins. “Now, you and I know that this is silly. No one comes from Saturn.” His expressionist-style illustrations complement his subject’s free-ranging musical style and evoke the joy Sun Ra found in music and life. Stars and moons float over paintings of Sun Ra and his bandmates performing, suggesting the musician’s otherworldly origins. A picture of a young Sun Ra composing music appears atop a musical staff.

The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra is an inspiring introduction to Sun Ra. It celebrates freedom of expression and invites young readers to embrace their own creativity.

-Dorothy A. Dahm