Life Doesn't Frighten Me

Maya Angelou, Author, Sara Jane Boyers, Editor, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Illustrator
Maya Angelou, Author, Sara Jane Boyers, Editor, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Illustrator Stewart, Tabori, & Chang $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55670-288-4
Paperback - 48 pages - 978-1-55448-719-6
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Boyers, a TV producer and art collector, deserves a standing ovation for her performance in pairing Angelou's poem with abstract paintings by the late Basquiat. ``Dragons breathing flame / On my counterpane / That doesn't frighten me at all. / I go boo / Make them shoo / I make fun / Way they run / I won't cry / So they fly''--had it been teamed with representational or whimsical illustrations, the verse might well have lost its dignity; instead, the proximity of Basquiat's edgy, streetwise pictures adds even greater power and authenticity to Angelou's refrain, ``Life doesn't frighten me at all.'' Conversely, the affirming quality of the poem mediates Basquiat's disquieting urban images. Basquiat's first works were drawn onto the walls of Manhattan buildings, and the frenzied, sometimes angry compositions here have the rawness of graffiti. The reproductions invite close scrutiny, implicitly teaching the viewer a way of approaching contemporary art and reinforcing the tough beauty of the poem. Ages 4-up. (Sept.)
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