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Viva Frida!

by Yuyi Morales

School Library Journal Gr 1 Up-Kahlo's unusual life story, background, and art have made her a frequent topic of biographies. Morales's perception of her creative process results in a fresh, winning take on an artist who has rarely been understood. The author uses strong verbs to give Kahlo voice: "I see (Veo)"; "Se (I know)." Kahlo is depicted as a self-possessed woman with a drive to create. Her artistic process has room for others to participate, though-love, imagination, and dreams are closely entangled in her art. In the illustrations, Diego Rivera is shown creating alongside his wife. While the artistic process seems magical to readers, Kahlo knows what she is searching for. Each spread has just one or two words on it, both in English and Spanish. The text floats on the page, with the Spanish in a lighter color, adding to the ethereal, dreamlike feel of the book. Morales's art and O'Meara's photographs take this book to another level. Created with stop-motion puppets, paintings, and digital elements, these are amazing works of art themselves. The puppets are lifelike, resembling Kahlo (with her unibrow) and Rivera accurately. They are surrounded by the animals Kahlo loved, including vibrant feathered parrots, a monkey, and dog. Throughout the book, Kahlo goes searching for inspiration and finds it all around her. Morales incorporates many of the hallmarks of Kahlo's art into her own. The artist wears silver, open-hand earrings and multicolored dresses. She plays with a skeleton puppet on these pages and imagines herself soaring, freed from her fragile body. Morales's note in both English and Spanish describes her connection with Kahlo. A resonant title that can be used anywhere Kahlo's art is studied. It will also be admired in bilingual collections.-Susan E. Murray, formerly at Glendale Public Library, AZ (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Morales artistically distills the essence of the remarkable Frida Kahlo in this esoteric, multigenre picture book. Morales layers English and Spanish words never more than four to a page to depict a Frida who is curious, playful, wise, and inspired. Rather than tell a story, the text captures fragments of Frida's life, like snapshots with bilingual captions. Readers who know about this artist will appreciate that she is so much more than the product of the bus accident that robbed her of her health, and readers who do not know about her will be intrigued to learn more. The heartfelt yet succinct biography at the end provides that information in both languages. The three-dimensional quality of the illustrations lends realism, even though they are quite surreal, and the photography always captures the sparkle in Frida's eyes and the lights at any fiesta. While the picture-book format and bright photographed tableaux will appeal to a younger audience, it's slightly older readers who will be best suited to appreciate the deceptively simple text and references to Kahlo's art.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2014 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Readers will recognize Morales's (Nino Wrestles the World) handmade Frida Kahlo doll from Kahlo's self-portraits-Morales's doll has the same haunting beauty and direct gaze, and she wears the same Mexican peasant clothing. In a series of composed photographs, Frida gazes at her pet monkey-another handmade creation-who slips the artist a key. The key opens a locked box, which holds a marionette, a jointed skeleton. Spare, lyrical text is set in English and, in fainter type, in Spanish, and each page turn reveals a new word or phrase. "Juego/ I play," Frida says, manipulating the marionette while the monkey sits on her shoulder. Now a paper cutout, Frida is shown dreaming, rescuing an injured fawn, then awakening, restored to doll form, as her husband-a plump, affectionate Diego Rivera-gives her a kiss on the cheek. "Vivo!" she says. "I live!" Frida is presented less as a historical figure than as an icon who represents the life Morales holds sacred; Frida lives because she loves and creates. A detailed biography is included. Ages 4-8. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy, Charlottte Sheedy Literary Agency. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

 

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