Written and Illustrated by Yuyi Morales
Roaring Brook Press, 2014
Awards: Caldecott Honor
The plot in a nutshell: Celebrating the life and artwork of Frida Kahlo
Frida searches with her dog and monkey pets and finds a skeleton puppet, with which they play. She sits and observes the world around her. She dreams of flying and of caring for a wounded fawn. She smiles as her husband kisses her cheek, surrounded by the fawn and her pet monkey. She paints a self-portrait and realizes that, because she loves and creates and does all of these things, she lives.
Author/illustrator Yuyi Morales includes a short biograph of Frida Kahlo in the back of the book and in it, she describes the influence that Ms. Kahlo had on her as an artist and the pride she feels as a Mexican citizen. Ms. Kahlo’s life was complicated and difficult and the book’s biographical note does a great job of making her story relatable to children. There’s very little actual story in this book and it serves really as more of a celebration of the artist’s life and work.
The pictures are gorgeous, colorful digitally manipulated photographs of stop-motion puppets, made with steel, polymer clay, wool and acrylic paints. The three-dimensional art changes to two dimensions when Frida is dreaming. I really loved the distinctive look of this book and was not surprised at all when it won the Caldecott Honor.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that a good life has time spent searching, playing, dreaming, loving and creating.