Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos

by Monica Brown (Author) John Parra (Illustrator)

Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor 2018

ALA Notable Children's Book 2018

New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2017

Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2017

Smithsonian Top Ten Best Children's Book of 2017

2018 Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year

Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, written by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra, 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.

The fascinating Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is remembered for her self-portraits, her dramatic works featuring bold and vibrant colors. Her work brought attention to Mexican and indigenous culture and she is also renowned for her works celebrating the female form.

Brown's story recounts Frida's beloved pets--two monkeys, a parrot, three dogs, two turkeys, an eagle, a black cat, and a fawn--and playfully considers how Frida embodied many wonderful characteristics of each animal.


Kirkus Reviews

Expressive acrylic paintings expertly evoke Kahlo's style and color palette.


School Library Journal

Gr 1-4--Two well-known children's book creators present the life of iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo through the kid-friendly lens of her animal friends. Kahlo's life as a young girl at La Casa Azul was marked by the support of her family, illness, and her "animalitos," or the many pets and creatures that she loved. Each spread introduces a new animal, from Bonito the parrot to her spider monkeys Fulang Chang and Caimito de Guayabal. The text often makes comparisons between the featured critters and the independent, free-spirited girl and budding artist. Throughout, Brown makes references to Kahlo's love of and inspiration by her Aztec culture, which was often seen in her art and evidenced by her pets' names. The picture book biography touches only briefly upon some of the artist's life-changing events, such as the accident she experienced in her teens or her marriage to Diego Rivera, but instead emphasizes the companionship of the animals with which she surrounded herself. Parra's lively acrylic paintings pay tribute to the vibrant hues of Kahlo's paintings, and her ties to her Mexican and Aztec heritage are apparent. A detailed author's note about the subject's life, art, and influence concludes the book and lists the many works in which her animalitos appear. VERDICT This unique and gorgeous take on the famous figure's work will give children an accessible entry point to an important artist. A good choice for picture book biography shelves.--Shelley M. Diaz, School Library Journal

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Brown uses the pets and animals in Frida Kahlo's life--spider monkeys, a parrot, and a fawn, among others--to emphasize aspects of her personality as she developed into an artist: "Frida's turkeys were intelligent and sensitive, just like her. And, like Frida, her dogs were warm and loving." Along with highlighting Kahlo's tender interactions with the animals, Brown shows how art buoyed her during difficult times, including a bus accident at age 18 that left her with persistent health problems. Parra's warm, weathered paintings are done in a flattened, folk-art style that vividly evokes the Mexican environment and "heritage of which she was very proud." Even if readers don't get much of a sense of the work Kahlo created, they'll finish the book feeling like they know the artist. Ages 4-8. Agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (Sept.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes







Monica Brown
Monica Brown, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of Waiting for the Biblioburro/Esperando al Biblioburro, Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match/no combina, and the Lola Levine chapter book series, including Lola Levine is Not Mean, Lola Levine, Drama Queen, and Lola Levine and the Ballet Scheme. She lives in Arizona with her family and teaches at Northern Arizona University. Find out more at www.monicabrown.net.

John Parra is an award-winning illustrator, designer, teacher, and fine art painter. His children's books have earned many awards including, the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, ALA's Pura Belpré Honors, The Christopher's Award, the International Latino Book Award, and many more. In 2015 John was invited by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to present a special event about his work and career in art and illustration and in 2017 John's art will be seen on six new Forever Postal Stamps from USPS titled: Delicioso. He currently lives with his wife Maria in Queens, New York.

Classification
Non-fiction
ISBN-13
9780735842694
Lexile Measure
780L
Guided Reading Level
N/A
Publication date
September 20, 2017
Series
-
Pura Belpre Award
Honor Book 2018 - 2018

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