Stacy Gregg’s horse stories have constantly been some of the most popular loans in my libraries, mostly primary but I also have several lower secondary girls who just love these books. This new stand-alone novel introduces readers to talented young artist Maisie, who has always loved horses and drawing them. In fact, her teacher finds it very frustrating that all Maisie seems to do is draw horses and calls the girl’s father in for a discussion. Contrary to the teacher’s intention, Maisie’s dad is pretty indignant that his daughter’s talent is perceived as a problem rather than a talent to be nurtured. Taking matters into his own hands he applies on his daughter’s behalf to a prestigious Parisian art school for a term’s scholarship and soon Maisie finds herself in the City of Lights staying with her very kind and welcoming patron.
What seems to be a golden opportunity is soon a terrible disappointment to Maisie when she finds her tutor to be both scornful and supremely critical of her art. She has no idea how she is going to find the heart to finish the scholarship until she discovers in a secret cache the long-lost diary of her patron’s ancestor – the famous horse artist Rose Bonifait. As the separate stories of the two young girls, both passionate about their art and horses, unfolds secrets, tragedies but also hope and warmth are revealed.
Maisie takes her courage and determination from Rose’s history and gradually her artwork finally begins to please her tutor technically but it is her attachment to a horse name Claude that breathes the life and emotion into her painting.
Like her other books, this will appeal to both the ‘horsey’ girls but also the ones who love adventure and mystery stories. Recommended highly for readers from around 8 years upwards.
No matter if you are looking for something biographical and ‘easy’ or as an introduction to outstanding and diverse artists or to supplement your Mighty Girl collection this is a very welcome addition.
These are the women who, in each of their disciplines, have turned the art world around to bring their gender into the forefront. Some names will be known such as Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keefe but others like Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and Betye Saar may be new to readers. It’s wonderful to see Australian artist Mirka Mora is included in this stellar array.
Covering painting, sculpture, textiles, drawing and more each double spread features an artist with salient facts and summed up in one word such as ‘D for Dots’ (Yayoi Kusama) and ‘U for Unique’ (Alice Neel).
At the end of the book further biographical details on each artist featured along with intriguing and provocative discussion questions and art prompts make this a superb teaching resource as well as just a pleasurable excursion into the world of these amazingly talented women.
The illustrations in a naïve style are riotously colourful and redolent of each artist’s individuality further providing inspiration for readers.
It may be an ‘ABC’ book but truly it is far more than that and lends itself easily to art classes for all from very young to senior readers.
Highly recommended for inclusion in your collection and very much to be shared with your art faculty. I’ll bet you’d like your own copy so to celebrate its release I have a give-away for you! Comment on this post and all names (Australia only) will be entered into a random draw!
ISBN: 9781406346763 Imprint: Walker Studio
October , 2016 Australian RRP: $29.99 New Zealand RRP: $32.99
This is an amazingly beautiful book which unfortunately (with a couple of others, reviews on their way) got waylaid on a shelf under some other more trivial items.
Whether this is a gift or a title for your library collection (either primary or secondary) it will be much appreciated for its beauty and unique creativity.
Messenger, who abandoned the world of ad agencies to become a full time illustrator in 1978, has devised the most magical, magnificent and surreal alphabet book by taking ordinary objects and transforming them into both upper and lower case letters.
It is not so much as an alphabet book that it will be a hit but rather as a delicious dip into surrealism for art lovers of all ages.
Highly recommended for any school library collection.