Noonie's Masterpiece

Lisa Railsback, Author, Sarajo Frieden, Illustrator , illus. by Sarajo Frieden. Chronicle $18.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8118-6654-5

“Dear Art and History People,” begins this debut narrated by arty fourth-grader Noonie. “You should definitely take a whole lot of notes because in a hundred years people will want to know everything about me.” After a while, readers may find this swaggering tone tiresome (“I'm not sure if anyone really understood my brilliant work, but that's how the masses are”), but they will learn that it masks sadness and insecurity. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousin, Noonie misses her deceased mother and her father, a world-traveling archeologist. Frieden (The Care and Feeding of Fish ) captures Noonie's careening emotions in quirky doodles (Noonie's beloved art teacher, Ms. Lilly, wears a fantastical garden for a hat, and a chapter on artist's block begins with an ominous brick wall). With the help of Ms. Lilly, the eye-opening results of an art contest, and a humorous pep talk by Van Gogh and other masters, Noonie comes to accept both her eccentricity and her loving, if not ideal, family. Readers with similar worries may find this a rewarding, if not masterful, pep talk as well. Ages 9–12. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/19/2010
Release date: 03/01/2010
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-4521-3397-3
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