Diego, focuses on Diego Rivera's bride, Frida Kahlo—an accomplished artist in her own right"/>

FRIDA

Jonah Winter, Author, Ana Juan, Illustrator , illus. by Ana Juan. Scholastic/Levine $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-590-20320-3

Winter, who brought the Mexican muralist vividly to life in Diego, focuses on Diego Rivera's bride, Frida Kahlo—an accomplished artist in her own right—in this striking picture book–biography. With a spare narrative more akin to poetry than prose, the author touches on important events in his subject's childhood—Frida's loneliness and the polio that kept her bedridden for months, as well as a bus accident, at age 18, that nearly killed her. He then shows how, each time, art helped her to transcend her injuries ("She turns her pain into something beautiful") and to unleash her magically surreal vision of the world in paintings ("In museums, people still look at them and weep and sigh and smile"). Juan, a Spanish fine artist and New Yorker cover artist making her children's book debut, creates artwork bursting with saturated color and infused with Mexican folk art motifs that also influenced Frida's own style. Floating figures, fantastical creatures and celestial bodies with human features cavort across the pages. Ana transforms Frida herself from a solemn, moon-faced child with uncompromising eyebrows (her well-known physical trait) to a woman whose gaunt features hint at both strength and inner struggle. One particularly breathtaking image shows the artist floating against a night sky, eyes closed and arms crossed on her chest in a death pose, held in the grip of a tree's thorny, gnarled branches ("Her body will hurt, always"). An outstanding introduction to an influential artist. Ages 4-10. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/10/2001
Release date: 02/01/2002
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