Expressive acrylic paintings expertly evoke Kahlo's style and color palette.
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 JournalCopyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
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.