The BFG – The Movie Trailer

Disney has released a trailer for their film version of The BFG.

Review: Mary Cassatt by Barbara Herkert

Mary Cassatt by Barbara Herkert

Mary Cassatt: Extraordinary Impressionist Painter by Barbara Herkert, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska (InfoSoup)

In 1860, girls did not become artists, but Mary knew exactly what she wanted to do. She enrolled in art school and then moved abroad despite her father’s protests. She copied the masters in The Louvre and lingered outside gallery windows. Art judges disliked her style, but she found herself welcomed to the group of independent artists by Degas himself. Soon she was painting exactly the way she liked and capturing life around her in her art.

Herkert tells the story of Mary Cassatt’s life with such poetic brevity. Her brief lines add to the energetic feel of the book, capturing the tremendous focus and passion of Cassatt herself with their tone. Herkert says things simply as they were and are. She states frankly the expectations of women in that time period, the way that the art institutions rejected Cassatt and the place the Cassatt found support and her own voice.

The illustrations by Swiatkowska pay homage to Cassatt’s own work. Done in a variety of media with gouache, watercolors, acrylics, enamel and tempera, the illustrations have a richness that has a vintage feel about it and focuses on capturing the society that Cassatt lived in and moments in her life.

A beautiful nugget of a picture book biography, this is an inspiring look at a woman who refused to be defined by society and instead lived a life all her own. Appropriate for ages 7-9.

Reviewed from copy received from Henry Holt and Co.

Review: I Used to Be Afraid by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

I Used to Be Afraid by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

I Used to Be Afraid by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (InfoSoup)

Explore things that are frightening in this picture book and then see that you can turn it all around and not be frightened any more. Spiders are creepy but also very cool. Shadows can be scary, but you can also create shadow puppets. The dark is frightening, but change your perspective and you can see the stars. One after another, this book takes a fear and then looks at it in a fresh way. From moving to a new home to being alone, each fear is shown and then re-examined. This is a good book to start a conversation about what a child is afraid of and then talking about how that too can be seen from a different perspective.

Seeger brings her clear understanding of the child’s perspective to this picture book. Die cuts and sturdy pages add to the toddler appeal here. The words are simple with only half a sentence on each double-page spread. Yet the concepts explored here are large and beg for deeper exploration on a personal level. The book will work with a group or one-on-one.

Seeger’s illustrations add to the appeal. Her use of acrylic paint and collage creates illustrations that are bold and bright. The die-cut aspect creates a delight with each turn of the page, physically moving something scary to a new view.

A fresh look at fears, this picture book will inspire conversations and that’s nothing to be afraid of! Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.