Painting Pepette

Linda Ravin Lodding, illus. by Claire Fletcher. Bonnier/Little Bee, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4998-0136-1
Lodding (A Gift for Mama) and Fletcher (Look at Me, Grandma) transport readers to 1920s Paris as a girl and her cherished stuffed rabbit, Pepette, pay a visit to the bustling Montmartre district. Perusing the family portraits in her Parisian home, Josette decides that Pepette deserves a portrait of her own. In Montmartre, several (now-well-known) painters declare their infatuation with Pepette and ask to recreate her likeness on canvas, but the results don’t please Josette—or Pepette. Picasso gives the rabbit three ears and two noses, Dalí renders her “droopy,” Chagall sends her flying through the clouds, and Matisse paints her pink, insisting that “through art we can see the world any way we want.” Unimpressed, Josette taps into her own creativity to paint Pepette herself. Fletcher’s paintings have a loose, dappled quality as she elegantly evokes the fictional characters, the real-life artists, their work, and Paris itself. The artists are not identified in the book, only mentioned in passing in an author’s note, so adult readers will likely need to provide context. Ages 4–8. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/11/2016
Release date: 06/07/2016
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